TV advertising has always been the brand marketer’s domain. But recently, that has begun to change. They used the mass-market medium to introduce a brand to the widest possible audience, and then measured the impact by the campaign’s gross-rating point (GRP). Splashy brand-awareness campaigns debuted on national TV and weren’t meant to achieve tactical goals, such as driving foot traffic to a particular store or encouraging wireless customers to upgrade their services.
TV is one of the most expensive branding and engagement tools, and marketers use brand-recall surveys, which take an entire business quarter to complete, to measure effectiveness.
Now, we live in a world of ad optimization and digital data. This means that strong branding is no longer the goal marketers are expected to strive for. Advertisers want real results that can tie directly to sales while using the same emotional triggers that get them the brand recognition. Because of the marketing measurement shift, television grew up in the past 10 years to become accountable for performance.
TV Enters the World of Performance Marketing
The world of TV began to change for marketers in 2005 when The Right Audience (TRA, now owned by TiVo) opened its doors for business. TRA aggregated set-top box data from numerous multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), allowing marketers to pinpoint audience segments that over-indexed for their target audience. It was the first shot fired over the GRP bow. Today, TiVo offers a simple interface that marketers can use to select their target audience. Set-top box data is updated continuously and scale is easier to achieve.
In fall 2015, Facebook made a splash when it introduced its target-rating point (TRP) for purchasing inventory. It was the social media giant’s way of helping marketers compare apples (traditional TV) to oranges (digital video campaigns run on social media).
Facebook wanted to provide a way for TV buyers to coordinate their TV efforts with video ads for more effective measurement. As Christopher Heine explained in AdWeek, “A target-rating point, by definition, is a specific consumer audience within a gross-rating point (GRP), which has been a key metric for TV ad measurement since the 1950s.”
Advanced TV Measurement
Although measuring reach of traditional TV is still based on broad-based GRPs and Nielsen panels, the good news for marketers is that more and more viewers consume TV via advanced channels. All of these advanced options allow for far more nuanced measurement.
- Addressable TV. With addressable TV, marketers can measure household-level exposure. Brands can determine real outcomes by using control groups (comparing conversion of households exposed to an ad to a group of households that were not).
- Programmatic TV. Programmatic TV allows for DMA-level exposure by demographic. In other words, you can measure the number of households that meet your exact targeting criteria who saw your ads. Similar to addressable TV, business outcomes are measured via test and control.
- Connected TV. Offers opportunities for richer measurement, as they rely on consumers interacting with an app. Measurement ranges from impressions to demo-level data.
Linking Ad Exposure to Business Outcome
Once you know how many people saw your ad, you can begin the process of calculating return on ad spend (ROAS). This begins by measuring the business outcomes—typically the products or services sold. Rather than rely on vague metrics to cobble together ROAS, third-party measurement leaders can verify offline sales results to track the exact impact of a video campaign.
ROAS from TV ad spend can be scaled by combining all of the TV advertising solutions—addressable, programmatic, and connected—with data and measurement solutions. Connecting these disparate pieces allows marketers to go beyond reach and frequency and start seeing real return on their TV investment.