Television. Many would argue that it is still the greatest medium there is. Being able to reach a specific audience in their home is something that many advertisers wouldn’t dream of removing from their media strategy. Yes, television is still king – but in the ever-changing media world, the variety of digital advertising platforms is turning media buying into something that looks like an episode of Game of Thrones.
As it turns out, television may have something up its sleeve to compete with, or at least to begin to speak the language of, the digital world. For much of its history, advertising on television has looked the same, but it is in the midst of a groundbreaking turn. Addressable TV is providing advertisers the opportunity to target their demographic in new and exciting ways by using digital technology. The appeal of digital advertising is the ability to reach a specific target, and granularly track the results, and television is taking this approach to target and measure specific audiences for advertisers.
Currently, addressable TV is only available in 42% of US TV households. It is being executed by cable providers who utilize data from their subscribers to deliver targeted offerings to their media partners. The cable providers take the advertisers’ intended target criteria, and will then use their own subscriber data to focus on inventory that will reach that audience. Depending on the details of the household, different ads can be served in the same area or zip code on the same network and program. That means two households in the same neighborhood, watching the same episode of the Walking Dead on AMC, can be served two different ads at the same time.
Addressable TV also provides the ability to track creative effectiveness with its targeted audience. This tactic works for an advertiser who is looking to test out which creative is more effective. Another use is for a company with different products; addressable TV can assure that the right message is reaching the right audience. It’s also possible to rotate different creative messages based on the data from the cable providers. While the possibilities aren’t quite endless, they are much more developed and enticing than in the past.
Addressable TV spend is on the rise as well, with $2.17 billion in projected ad spend in 2018 – a 39% increase from 2017. For many, the draw of addressable TV is the premium-owned inventory without the hassle of any viewability or ad blocking issues that can occur with digital video. For others, addressable TV provides an enhancement to a traditional broadcast schedule.
One thing is for sure, addressable TV is going to take “traditional” media buying to another level. A study from the Video Advertising Bureau calls it a “Win Win for advertisers and viewers alike” – commercials will run against an audience that makes sense for them, and viewers are being served more meaningful ads that relate to them. While addressable TV may be in its beginning stages now, it seems likely to become more prevalent and more widely available in the years to come.