A few years ago when CBS trailed competitors in the 18-to-49 demographic, the pitch rang rather hollow. Now, though, as the network is a stronger player in the advertiser-coveted demo, its work to alter the conversation around audience targeting has more heft.
That’s not to say its efforts are not self-serving. CBS’s top researcher David Poltrack would admit it.
Boomers are moving out of the 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 demos. CBS continues to attract a good deal of them. So, it wants to persuade ad buyers to value them.
Poltrack has been on a quest for some time to advance a segmentation approach to buying. Age and gender have never offered “an ideal evaluative approach” to audience targeting, he said. He believes targeting based on other audience characteristics can bring an advertiser closer to ringing the cash register.
Apparently, it’s working at CBS. “Our advertisers are recognizing that its not just about adults 18-to-49 anymore,” he said.
But what about ad pricing? Isn’t is still more efficient to buy the demo?
Speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation conference Tuesday, Poltrack said: “The correlation of prices to adult 18-to-49 delivery is softening.”
The implication is a retailer might pay more -- based on some formula -- to reach 50-to-60 year-olds who are more likely to buy their products.
CBS has used a “single-source” approach – where ad exposure is linked with purchasing behavior – to pitch advertisers in the consumer packaged goods category for at least a year. It’s worked closely with General Mills in the process.
Now, it’s looking to expand into other categories. In concert with Nielsen Buyer Insights, it’s moving ahead with an initiative that covers the retail, restaurant, travel, telecom and other categories.
Nielsen has signed a deal to gain access to data on credit and debit card transactions. The purchase activity can then be linked with TV viewing research and other media consumption data. All kinds of audience segments can be isolated such as those who use credit cards looking for airline rewards points.
The data apparently shows advertising on “The Amazing Race” is a good way to reach them. CBS would say don't focus on their age just activity. Problem is, it just might make too much sense for the ad inustry to embrace.