5 Tactics To Plan Your Way Into Addressable TV Success

A person sits in front of a TV screen with a target, bullhorn and remote over it.
(Image credit: Visual Generation/Getty Images)

There's been plenty of industry buzz around the addressable TV advertising opportunity in recent years, but it has been challenging for marketers to feel like they've cracked the code on leveraging addressable within their broader efforts. That's because there's still a good deal of complexity to navigate, with major hurdles in first defining addressability, actually delivering scaled addressable advertising, and finally, in measuring success. This is manifesting in poor results, at a high price.

If you’re a brand or agency looking to maximize ROI within the premium addressable TV channel, there are a few fundamental planning considerations that can go a long way in terms of overcoming challenges and improving results. Here’s an overview of where to start.

Plan for Scale

The advanced planning required to achieve scale in addressable linear or CTV may be new to marketers who typically focus on digital campaigns. Two planning requirements for success include understanding scale limitations and solutions, as well as how your partners can support achieving your goals.

Limitations to scale often start with inventory and programming. On the digital media front, if an audience segment is underdelivering, the campaign will simply begin serving the next best segment. Marketers should be prepared to supplement audiences on the CTV and addressable linear side to achieve scale.

Optimize spend by deploying the same audience and message across digital, CTV and addressable linear campaigns. There is a good chance you will need to supplement your audiences with video campaigns to achieve the scale necessary to drive outcomes. Keep in mind as you shift between channels, the same audience may find different match rates, delivering incremental scale in one channel over another. 

It's important to be proactive and understand where audiences will be running from a network and distribution standpoint to ensure a campaign is set up for success prior to launch. Unfortunately, many campaigns stumble off the bat because this audience supplementation step is skipped, and campaigns subsequently end up drastically underdelivering.

Know Thy Partners

The TV partner landscape is deep and wide. It can be hard to tell who does what, and how well they do it. Understanding partner capabilities and resources will further support achieving scale and overall campaign success.

First look at platform partners. Several have cross-channel planning capabilities that assess inventory and delivery prior to running campaigns, giving advertisers an accurate sense of scale during the planning process, altogether enabling an optimized channel mix with scale on delivery.

Additional consideration is required for distribution partners in CTV and addressable linear. Do they have access to the right inventory needed to run an impactful campaign? Are their sources diverse enough to drive incremental reach? All the planning in the world won’t matter if the distribution partner can't deliver the inventory.

Focus on Households, Not Individuals

The promise of one-to-one audience targeting is an attractive one, but it might misdirect marketers to focus on the individual level in this particular channel. When considering CTV and addressable linear campaigns, this level of data won’t take advertisers very far. Brands and agencies need to work with data partners with active household-level data that can scale across CTV and addressable linear channels. By leveraging household-level data, marketers can achieve greater scale and unlock the opportunity to reach all members and devices within a household, rather than limiting their targeting to a single device or user experience.

When targeting at the household level, one additional element to keep in mind is context. With a possibly larger range of consumers in a household, from age, to gender, to interests, ensuring targeting is paired with relevant programming can help you ensure the right viewers in the house are seeing your message.

Understand the Reality of Success Metrics

When it comes to addressable TV, many marketers are challenged to identify the right success metrics for their campaigns. Should they be applying TV standards to these buys? Or digital ones? The simple reality is that, despite the increasingly digital nature of TV, these addressable TV opportunities are still top of funnel. Marketers should be thinking in terms of awareness and impressions, not just clicks.

Creative should be designed to influence viewers and move them down the funnel as a part of a larger omnichannel effort. As tempting as it can be, providing a 20 percent off QR coupon to viewers during a 30-second ad just doesn't work very well. It's best for advertisers to play to TV's strengths when planning their CTV and addressable linear campaigns.

Look at Omnichannel Performance To Assess the Validity of Audiences

That said, even though TV best serves brands at the top of the funnel, marketers shouldn’t fail to assess the impact of their efforts in a larger omnichannel capacity. This is particularly important when it comes to evaluating the success of audiences being targeted across multiple channels. 

Lower-funnel channels like digital display and social media lend themselves to complementing the household-level data with individual-level data that can be mapped back to the original exposure at the household level. Marketers should pay attention to lower-funnel metrics and understand who is converting as a result of omnichannel efforts that include CTV and addressable linear.

Measurement may become more complex, requiring advertisers to assess channels and audiences separately, and as a whole. This will help gauge incrementality as well as refine strategy. Future audiences can be modeled after the best-performing channels and segments.

The addressable TV opportunity for brands and agencies is a growing one, but properly leveraging this opportunity requires a hybrid playbook and a little added planning and evaluation. By taking the above five factors into account, marketers can improve their omnichannel results and ultimately bolster the long-term strategy and value of CTV and addressable linear within their media mixes. ■

Brittany Powers is head of advanced TV at Alliant (opens in new tab).