Technology Disruption is Good for TV Advertisers

"The technology and advanced data is available to help advertisers reach households at a very granular level. For example, advertisers can create and deliver messages that resonate with a specific audience, regardless of programming." -Kevin Dean, president, marketing services, Experian

It’s clear technology has disrupted the entire TV ecosystem – particularly for advertisers. Gone are the days where families would sit in front of the TV to watch their favorite shows without the luxury of fast-forwarding through commercials. Technology has opened the doors for more and more people to watch TV on mobile devices, streaming services, video on-demand subscriptions and connected TV, just to name a few.

This doesn’t mean that technology has had a negative impact on advertisers. It’s quite the opposite. Advertisers now have an opportunity to create and deliver more relevant messages, and better connect with their customers and prospects. On top of this, people consume information on multiple devices, so advertisers can turn their TV advertisements into true omni-channel campaigns. All it takes is a shift in mindset and a clear understanding of an advertiser’s target audience.

Adapting to the advanced TV ecosystem

People want relevant communications – anything else can be deemed a waste of time. While the technological disruptors have rendered the traditional commercial less impactful, there’s a workaround for advertisers – and some may consider it more beneficial.

The technology and advanced data is available to help advertisers reach households at a very granular level. For example, advertisers can create and deliver messages that resonate with a specific audience, regardless of programming. That means two different neighbors – one who is a millennial sports enthusiast and the other who is mother of two ballerina dancers – could be watching the same television show, but receive two very different commercials.

It’s a combination of these tools that allow TV advertisers to now find the right level of granularity, leveraging digital style advertising without sacrificing the scale TV provides. As an example, the typical audience for an addressable TV campaign should be approximately 15-30% of the overall media provider audience. This enables an advertiser to reach millions of viewers, but eliminates the waste of traditional TV buys – a principle in line with their digital buys.

The hybrid between addressable and traditional

While addressable TV continues to grow, there will always be products that are designed for a mass audience, such as facial tissues, toothpaste and toilet paper. In those instances, it may make sense to buy TV ad space as it’s always been purchased: traditional linear TV. So, how do advertisers maximize the return on their ad dollars, and ensure their messages are reaching their intended audiences? It’s time to reimagine the linear TV buying process. Using advanced data like detailed demographics, location data, CRM data, transactional data or psychographic data can enable a more hybrid approach – an optimized path to linear TV buying, if you will.

In these cases, advertisers need to move beyond traditional viewership data and simple age and gender demographics to build more precise target audiences. Viewing habits only tell part of the story. For example, let’s say a brand wants to reach households with children under the age of five. If an advertiser purchases a TV ad based on viewership data, there’s a high likelihood some of those ad spots will include households that do not fall under that segment – ultimately resulting in wasted ad spend. Instead, the advertiser should combine the viewership data with additional attributes, such as presence of children by age, as well as household income, to ensure they are connecting with their desired audiences.

Technology has undoubtedly changed the way people watch TV, and advertisers that want to continue to have relevant conversations with their customers need to adapt to the times. The right mix of data, technology and activation partners can help advertisers make the right marketing decisions and move past the disruptors to leverage the strengths of the new TV ecosystem. As they say, the only constant is change. Brands that want to win, need to treat the new environment as an opportunity and modernize their TV buying strategies.