‘PeopleFronts’: The New TV And Digital Ad Buy

"What if advertisers placed larger emphasis on the “people” and not the “channel” – hence the evolution to “PeopleFronts.'" -Kevin Dean, president, marketing services, Experian

Since the introduction of the DVR, circa 1999, there’s been a paradigm shift in the way people consume TV. Viewing patterns are no longer dictated by live airings – the DVR opened the door for consumers to watch what they want, when they want. Fast-forward another decade or so, and the on-demand landscape was taken to the nth-degree with the introduction of streaming services and connected devices. Technology has clearly impacted the way people consume information.

It’s natural, then, that advertising is evolving with the digital revolution. Advertisers are placing a higher priority on more relevant content that reaches people through a variety of channels and devices. However, even though advertising is changing, the way advertisers purchase ads has not. For the last 50 years, TV network heads have rolled out the red carpet for advertising executives at the Upfronts, and more recently within the last decade, the NewFronts were created to recognize the similar opportunity on digital channels. But, should there be such a strong delineation between channels?

Oftentimes, when advertisers purchase ad space across networks, streaming services and digital channels, the result is much more channel specific. The challenge is that consumers engage with brands across a variety of channels and these interactions need to tell a consistent story. What if advertisers placed larger emphasis on the “people” and not the “channel” – hence the evolution to “PeopleFronts.”

“PeopleFronts” puts the focus where it should be, the consumer.

People should be at the heart of every advertising strategy. But, traditional strategies often keep email, TV, social media, or banner ads in separate silos – leading to inconsistent or redundant messaging. For example, if you purchase a TV spot at the Upfronts, in time, it may be addressable to the audience, but may not necessarily work with your other advertising channels. If brands think of the customer first, it should lead to more relevant advertisements that cut through the noise, create consistent messaging and resonates with the audience. It benefits the customer as well, as it means that they’ll see messages about things that matter to them—whether that be the latest tech gadget to hit the marketplace, or a sale on their favorite brand of cereal. To deliver relevant messages, advertisers need to utilize effective identity resolution.

Let’s say a consumer is in the market for a new appliance, so a brand begins showing them an addressable TV ad for the latest model that is relevant to that household. Effective identity resolution can drive even greater relevancy by allowing brands to present a consistent story across all channels—showing ads for the same offer across other channels like banner or social media ads as well. But the true power of identity resolution comes into play when the consumer makes the purchase. Being able to connect the online and offline touchpoints, advertisers can map the entire path to purchase, and know when it’s time to begin showing them a new ad, for “next most likely” products or services.

Advanced technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning make bringing online and offline touchpoints together easier than ever before. This empowers advertisers to optimize their campaigns and leverage the tools that resonate the most with consumers.

Optimize and measure with ease

The true beauty of the “PeopleFronts” approach is the opportunity to plan, optimize and measure multi-channel campaign success much more effectively. In the past, advertisers had to rely on traditional TV metrics, and possibly website traffic after an ad airs as a secondary metric, but brands need to focus on outcomes, not impressions. Now by linking campaign elements and sales data, advertisers can effectively measure which element—TV ads, banner ads, emails, etc.— is the most effective in the overall campaign, not what is effective for just a particular channel. This leads to optimization of future campaigns, focusing the advertising dollars where they have the most impact, which reduces wasted spend.

Effective advertising is a cycle, and it starts with the people brands want to reach—with messages and products that they care about. Rather than relying on a single channel, brands need to tell their story across channels. Advanced TV is a powerful tool, but by shifting the focus from the channel to the audience, advertisers can now bring all the tools together and develop a unified campaign. This means advertisers will cut through the noise and reach consumers with relevant messages that, ultimately, will lead them to become customers.

Experian’s marketing services group uses data and insights to help brands have more meaningful interactions with people.