To Track Or Not To Track -- That Is The Networks' Question

We now have a conga line of digital media platforms promoting the idea that they don’t want to “track” you — Apple among them.

In addition, there are those who want to abandon the whole idea of installing those nasty “cookies” on your browser. Mozilla’s Firefox now blocks website cookies that can let advertisers and publishers track you across the web.

Sounds revolutionary -- but maybe old school as well.

Right now, as far I can tell, CBS doesn’t track me. Nor does Hallmark Channel, ESPN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel or Dog TV.

At the same time, we have lots of evidence — in theory — that TV networks can connect with viewers, tangentially, when it comes to secondary “tracking” of sorts.



The Video Advertising Bureau talks this up from a new report looking at D2C (direct-to-consumer) marketers — those with few, if any, brick-and-mortar, online retailer distributors or other middleman connections.

Given traditional TV spending, the VAB says many new marketers are seeing big-time increases in website visits, search requests and other online engagements. How do they know this? Cookies, of course.

Right now, TV networks are looking for ways to prove business outcomes and key performance indicators with real data connected to TV ad exposure.

The question might be how close they want to get — data specifics for the modern media consumer, considering overwhelming public concern about privacy.

The VAB points out that many people watch TV with their mobile devices close by — technology that can connect their two activities, especially around specific times those TV commercials are running.

This isn’t a direct connection versus, say, YouTube, Amazon or Netflix. So traditional TV content providers seem — at the moment — to keep a safe distance. Yet as they transition more to D2C-over-the-top (OTT) platforms, this becomes much closer.

Do they really want to be a Facebook, Google or Amazon? Not exactly. The question is whether traditional TV companies can keep their distance, while closing the gap for data-driven digital and TV-buying hungry advertisers.

1 comment about "To Track Or Not To Track -- That Is The Networks' Question".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 12, 2019 at 12:31 p.m.

    It amazes me to see how often the claim is made that "TV" is getting into the tracking game when, in fact, this refers only to digital TV, not "linear TV". And digital TV is a small part of the total TV effort for most TV advertisers. Also, there is continued chatter about "TV" guaranteeing "outcomes" for advertisers---whatever that means---- when this is the sole responsibility of the adveretiser. All a TV time seller can do is sell the time and make sure that the ads run to full visibility as specified when and where there were supposed to. That's all. It's not the time sellers job to ensure that consumers believe what the ad is pitching and that they will buy the product advertised.

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