Five Predictions for How Data Will Change TV This Season

Addressable TV Is Creating a New Set of Rules

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Big Data has infiltrated almost every facet of marketing. The idea that marketers can target specific consumers with tailored messages isn't new, but in traditional media like TV, it's taking longer to ignite.

Addressable TV isn't a new idea, but some are taking longer than others to take it up. Many still rely on one-size-fits all TV campaigns, but for others, it has been a high priority over the past decade to increase the sophistication of these programs. In fact, some industry verticals are well-practiced in the art of targeting consumers through the set-top box. Automotive and insurance brands, who tend to rely heavily on traditional media, have often been early adopters for addressable TV. Today, they are now focused on expanding their targeted TV campaigns across digital channels.

TV still enjoys the biggest slice of most advertisers' budgets -- but now is the time for data to change the way TV advertising is bought and sold across all industry verticals. TV advertisers need to prepare for five major shifts in the year ahead:

1. Third-party data will become the new currency
As individuals, we're defined by much more than our age and gender. So why is this still a common currency for making TV buys? Brands that run addressable TV campaigns know that combining and matching their own data with third-party data enables them to develop richer consumer profiles and target more precisely. Digital channels offer this kind of rich targeting in abundance. The TV world was often excluded from digital campaigns because the data was different, as was the media-buying process.

Third-party data allows advertisers to build the same audiences and run campaigns across channels that matter to that target audience. And today we now have technology to do data matching across channels via a third-party data partner in a privacy-compliant manner. This allows advertisers to target specific audiences based on everything from location and demographics to online/offline behavior and brand preferences.

2. Data will be crucial for media-mix decisions
Today's consumers have out-run campaigns. They're in control of how they consume content. That being said, not all customers are engaging through all channels -- and a truly effective and targeted campaign should take into consideration the channel preferences and behaviors of its ideal audience.

Marketers need to focus on utilizing their own CRM, partner or third-party data sources to develop an audience and then (crucially) find the channels where those individuals are addressable and engaged. TV may or may not be part of the media mix for certain customer segments -- but where it is, being able to directly address and target them is the key to success.

3. Closed-loop analytics will be the standard
Advertisers need to understand consumer-channel preferences to make informed media buying decisions. But let's be honest, we also need to understand ROI. Yes, TV is a compelling medium for storytelling that improves campaign reach. But the number of dollars that advertisers can use without producing clear and measurable results is waning. Marketers need to be able to tell data-focused stories to prove the value of the dollars they are spending.

Not only will closed-loop analytics for TV become the new standard, but marketers will push to see the greater picture through multi-touch attribution. They'll need to understand the impact of channels, creative, frequency and recency on online and offline conversions.

4. Privacy will be a key conversation
Privacy is of utmost importance within any marketing strategy. In the TV space, we can expect more emphasis to be placed on privacy and compliance as addressable TV rises and hits the mainstream.

Brands need to be sure that their data -- and the data of their third party matching partners – is accurate and collected in a privacy-compliant manner.

5. TV will no longer just be "TV"
According to Experian Marketing Services' research, the number of cord cutters has grown 44% in the past four years. TV, in the traditional sense, is still strong, but other forms of video entertainment are catching up. With over-the-top companies like Netflix or Hulu on the rise, addressable TV will soon come to mean more than just cable targeting. As these (and new) media outlets arrive, other forms of TV need to be considered when making-marketing mix decisions.

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