TV as an advertising medium has had an incredible history, beginning in 1941 and quickly becoming the dominant format for advertising.
Yet for the first time in 2016, digital captured more U.S. advertising spend than TV. TV is not going away – it still captures over a third of all U.S. ad spend, per eMarketer, because adults still spend an average of 4+ hours a day watching TV.
That said, consumption habits are changing.
More than one in five households have ditched cable completely, notes Fortune and streaming services are in 50% of US TV households. Specifically, Pew Research finds 83% of consumers aged 50 or older have cable or satellite service at home, compared with 65% of those ages 18 to 29. So advertisers are left with two distinct audiences: traditional cable subscribers and cord-cutters.
How do brands ensure they have an effective strategy that reaches both, and doesn’t sacrifice one segment at the expense of the other?
Traditional TV With A Modern Twist
To reach Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers, traditional TV advertising may still be route. That said, TV still doesn’t hold a candle to the audience targeting and measurement capabilities that advertisers have grown accustomed to with their digital campaigns. Fortunately, brands can leverage programmatic or addressable TV.
Programmatic TV is somewhat in its nascence.
Today, there are tens of millions of U.S. households that can be digitally addressed via linear TV, with more households being added every day. Programmatic TV enables advertisers to bid and purchase linear TV inventory through a DSP, and with that comes all of the benefits of digital, including data.
The ability to leverage first- or third-party data segments lets brands reach niche audiences. In essence, advertisers can purchase the exact audiences they want, instead of using extrapolated program viewership data as a proxy for their audiences. This helps minimize waste and increase efficiency – something TV traditionally hasn’t been able to control.
Reporting also becomes much more granular when purchasing TV inventory programmatically, with each impression representing a household or individual reached – no inferred, modeled, or extrapolated ratings systems to worry about. Brands can see when and where their ads ran by network, time of day, and location, without having to order spot buys to ensure the placements.
TV As The Fourth Device
As Millennials cut the cord and subscribe to streaming services, a traditional TV media buy no longer makes sense. But with connected TV, consumers are reached no differently than on mobile or desktop. Along with that comes all the great targeting features, including retargeting, location targeting, contextual targeting, and arguably more importantly, measurement, because at the end of the day, connected TV is really just another digital device – fully addressable and measurable.
Once you realize that a connected TV is just another device, the same tactics that brands employ for mobile and display are possible on the big screen, including targeting and retargeting based on behavior from other devices.
Closed-loop measurement, albeit at the household level, also becomes possible from impression to purchase, whether the conversion occurs online or offline. The journey of a consumer who sees an ad on connected TV, visits a desktop site, and makes a purchase on mobile or physical store, is 100% visible to the brands via the path-to-conversion and multi-touch attribution reports top-tier platforms include in reporting suites.
TV Advertising Now Requires A Bifurcated Approach
The new formula for targeted, measurable TV advertising is a combination of programmatic and connected TV tactics. Brands need to invest in TV, but the reality is that two distinct approaches are needed: Cable subscribers can best be reached (and measured) through a programmatic TV execution, and the connected TV is another digital device, much like mobile or desktop.
Making TV addressable also enables brands to capitalize on second-screen behavior, employing a TV companion tactic where consumers are targeted across all digital devices simultaneously.