TV advertising has changed drastically over the years, and it continues to evolve at an extremely fast rate. From its inception as a limited broadcast network model to its current incarnation of hundreds of networks and thousands of on-demand programs available on a myriad of devices, TV advertising will continue to improve exponentially — for both the consumer and the advertiser that seeks their attention.
Contrary to popular belief, TV viewership is NOT decreasing — rather, the audience is just watching in different ways. These different ways mean that advertisers have more and more options to deliver their message to an audience.
Advertising on TV has evolved to become addressable, accountable, data-driven and increasingly automated — and the audience is now key to effective ad delivery. a4 — which is an advanced media and data company offering an end-to-end platform that delivers intelligent multiscreen campaigns against authenticated audiences — is most equipped to solve the problem of how to deliver more effective TV advertising in the present day.
The Golden Age of Television
With all of the different ways to watch and the plethora of high-quality content, we are now living in the golden age of TV. According to Derek Mattsson, vice president of programmatic TV at a4 Media, TV viewership has actually increased due to more available programming and additional devices on which to watch — even when the viewer is away from home.
“It’s a great time for TV in the consumer’s mind [with so many options], he said. “At a4, we’re aiming to drive more rapid and dramatic change than [TV advertising] has ever experienced — triggered by the combination of data and technology.”
These changes require improving audience targeting techniques that deliver the right ads to the right customers. To survive and thrive, TV advertising has to become more effective in reaching precise audiences, addressing advertisers’ needs, and targeting more consumers more effectively. a4’s TV solutions are designed to do exactly this.
Types of TV Advertising
As the TV advertising industry changes, data is the key to better ad delivery to target audiences. a4 recognizes this and offers the ability to optimize the mix of TV and digital to make the most of every ad dollar. Given its access to viewing data from millions of consumers, a4 knows what TV channels and day-parts a given target household watches and can build an optimized TV schedule that skews to those channels and day-parts.
TV advertising offerings include:
• Optimized Linear uses the target audience’s anonymized TV viewing data to determine the ideal, impression-based TV schedule designed to run on the channels and dayparts a target audience most likely watches.
• Addressable TV enables clients to target only the audiences they want to reach, and deliver up to five commercials to those audiences. By defining target audiences using the variety of a4 data sets, advertisers can show different relevant ads to different households while they are watching the same program at the same time.
• Connected TV brings the targeting precision of digital to television via emerging platforms that stream digital video content to connected TVs (like Hulu, Roku, etc.). The ads play at the full resolution of the TV on media app load or during content streaming.
Data: The Connective Tissue
While there are more ways to deliver messaging consumers through TV today, audiences are spread out over thousands of devices, which can make them difficult to reach. With the mass fragmentations of today, there is one key asset that will allow for better targeting: data.
“Data is going to be the connective tissue,” Mattsson says. “Today you want to reach many people and dynamic data allows it.” Data offers an accountability and science that was previously unseen in TV advertising. A company like a4 leverages data to understand the way TV is viewed — and this unique data enables advertisers to find their target audience, wherever they may be. “We have more inventory than any [programmatic provider] and better data targeting to the household and to the devices in the household,” Mattsson continues.
a4’s Data Warehouse links many types of data including household income and demographics, ages, purchase intent for certain categories, U.S. postal addresses, IP addresses, household TV viewing data and more. All data is linked to an a4 anonymized ID that ensures the protection of all personally identifiable information. The anonymized TV viewing data tells a4 that a meaningful percentage of the target audience is actually watching at that time, therefore targeted ads can be delivered to them, backed up by data.
The importance of data in times of change cannot be overstated. “The benefit is that it allows much more effective television buying across all of these devices and the ability to attribute consumer actions to the advertising. We know who your audience is and the product being delivered,” Mattsson says.
TV + Digital
While leveraging data, another opportunity for advertisers is to integrate and harmonize TV and digital advertising, creating a multiscreen targeting offering. “We’re making TV more internet-like in regards to accountability,” Mattsson says. “We’re combining the brand power of TV with the accountability of online.”
This combination makes a big difference. When TV and digital work together they drive ROI +63%, according to one recent case study.
TV + digital combo ad campaigns are tightly integrated based on data at scale. “No longer does the ‘left hand [TV]’ not know what the ‘right hand [digital]’ is doing,” Mattsson says. TV and digital can become a single, choreographed campaign delivering impressions with the highest precision and least amount of waste, which maximizes advertising ROI. And both of them working together is fully reportable — clients can now see exactly how their campaign is working and optimize it throughout the flight. The a4 planning and activation platform allows TV advertising to be fully measurable, accountable and forward-focused.
TV Advertising Isn’t Going Anywhere
There is still an ongoing debate of whether TV is dying because traditional TV viewership is down. But because people are watching various programs in different ways, there are more opportunities to reach them with data-driven, targeted multiscreen ad campaigns. The companies that can evolve in the light of today’s fast-paced advertising landscape — like a4 — will win business and continue to grow.