Ever since programmatic advertising came into vogue in the mid-aughts, brands and agencies have been chomping at the bit to combine digital’s targeting and measurement tools with the premium video inventory they purchase on television. For nearly a decade, so-called “Advanced TV” was more of a pipe dream than practical application, as television networks and service providers did not yet have the infrastructure in place to sell their inventory via programmatic pipes.
Recently, this has begun to change. With each passing year, more and more advanced TV inventory becomes available, giving digital marketers a golden opportunity to supercharge their video campaigns with targeted household reach and personalization. Indeed, as much as digital video can drive sales through an online execution, it becomes all the more powerful when combined with advanced TV. For marketers, this is the time to start exploring the best ways to include this new digital deployment for video campaigns.
Adding Automation and Targeting to Traditional TV
Broadly, “advanced TV” is an umbrella term that refers to any instance in which a brand purchases advertising during a television program using the automated planning, buying and delivery tools associated with programmatic advertising. Advanced TV advertising comes in three categories: programmatic, connected and addressable.
- Programmatic TV advertising is data-driven and automated linear TV media buying. This allows for the use of data for a selection of dayparts, networks and programs and the ability to reduce costs through automation.
- Connected TV advertising is when brands buy ads during on-demand, streaming television shows that people watch via platforms like Roku and Apple TV. These ads can be targeted to individual users and accounts on each platform and is a great way to reach people who watch traditional television less frequently and cord-cutters.
- Addressable TV advertising refers to household-level, linear TV advertising, which allows brands to target specific homes with specific ads during a television show. This category also allows for creative versioning in a TV delivery for the first time, where advertisers can send personalized ads to specific audience segments.
Addressable TV Is the Best of Both Worlds
While all advanced TV approaches offer marketers a suite of benefits, addressable TV is the most effective execution because it combines the precise targeting of digital with the highest quality viewing experience.
By applying digital tools to the buying process, addressable advertisers can be much more efficient with their television spend. Rather than wasting millions of dollars on ads that will be shown to every person watching a given program, a beauty brand could spend $200,000 to reach only a specific group of women. On top of that, that brand could segment the group of women into different categories, such as heavy mascara buyers versus heavy nail polish buyers and send ads highlighting the different products to the respective segments.
Meanwhile, addressable TV allows marketers to reach consumers in a far better environment than they’d find online. Whereas a digital video viewer might be in a rush to get back to whatever they were doing a moment ago, television viewers are more committed to sticking around and watching a program. This creates a more relaxed viewing environment, which has always been a draw of traditional TV advertising because it makes them more receptive to what they’re seeing, but now it’s available with digital targeting, making it much more relevant.
However, one of the best components of addressable is the offline sales measurement, where brands can see the actual sales lift of a campaign. Using third-party measurement partners, marketers can know for certain that the people who saw their ads actually went on to buy their products. In short, marketers can actually know if their ads are working.
Better together: Digital Video and Addressable TV
The best way for marketers to begin using addressable TV is by including it in a cross-screen campaign with digital video. Because television is the priciest advertising medium, it can be difficult for marketers to scale TV-only campaigns without paying exorbitant costs. But by pairing an addressable TV buy with digital video, advertisers can get television’s halo effect while simultaneously building scale with less expensive online inventory. Together, these two formats produce a cost-effective, multi-channel campaign that delivers excellent return on ad spend.
Beyond giving brands more bang for their buck, the combination of digital video and addressable TV enables advertisers to implement a more precise, more sophisticated marketing strategy. Instead of choosing between the lean-back environment of television and the lean-in environment of digital, brands can mix and match based on what they are trying to achieve with each customer. And because addressable television allows advertisers to target people at the household level, marketers can prevent themselves from oversaturating a single consumer across TV and digital. Once the integrated campaign is finished, marketers can measure performance across both channels, allowing them to better understand the cumulative impact of their holistic video marketing strategy.
And, addressable and advanced TV are just getting started. As the technology continues to develop and networks and cable providers become more comfortable selling addressable inventory, marketers will be able to purchase greater quantities of TV advertising with unprecedented automation and efficiency.
For now, brands and agencies should seize the value that’s already available and begin experimenting with integrated, cross-screen campaigns. It won’t be long before advanced TV is just as important to a successful media plan as its analog predecessor.