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How TV Advertising Is Trying to Be Like Digital Marketing

businesspeople with tv head smiling faces

To keep pace in our digital-obsessed era, TV has begun to adopt some of the best qualities of online media channels while still retaining its pre-existing strengths. 242.4 million Americans, or 76 percent of the population, still subscribe to pay TV. Live television broadcasts also have larger viewerships than any given streaming show, demonstrating TV’s persistently broad appeal.

In addition to those lingering superpowers, TV has gained a few new ones similar to its digital counterparts. Emerging technology allows advertisers to precisely target demographics, and new policies are allowing for unprecedented volumes of audience measurement data to be gathered. If the present is any indication, TV marketing will remain strong for the foreseeable future thanks to its newfound abilities.

Better TV Audience Targeting with Addressable TV Ads

Just like online ads, TV ads can now be fine-targeted to specific audiences or even households using technology known as “addressable TV.” Time Warner, DirecTV and Cablevision are already in the mix, and now it seems that Viacom is joining them. According to an AdAge report, Viacom is offering as much audience data as media buyers can handle, helping them target actionable demographics with a high level of precision.

To make better use of this data, Viacom will also offer new products to media buyers, including one called Vantage Instant Audience where advertisers gain access to audience segments verified by Viacom subscription data. Another product, Vantage Target Discover, helps TV marketers experiment with new audiences based on predictive suggestions by Viacom’s media selling team. Products like these can potentially reinvigorate the TV media purchasing process and enable methods such as more efficient programmatic buys.

Addressable TV has already been put into action by high-profile advertising efforts, too. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders used addressable TV as part of their campaign strategy when entering into the battle for votes during April’s New York state Democratic primary.

TV Audience Measurement Gets Smarter

Since the early 1990s, TV measurement has depended on participating households voluntarily installing devices separate from their incoming TV signals, most of which are provided by the research company Nielsen. Now, some in the TV realm are trying to push for a more direct measurement system, gleaned from the individual set-top boxes themselves.

The biggest entity behind this push is surprisingly not a corporation but a government: Canada.

According to the website for Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), they have instituted new rules “requiring the industry to form a working group to develop an audience measurement system based on the data from set-top boxes.” The initiative is still in its infancy, but major cable providers like Bell and Rentrak along with organizations like the Association of Canadian Advertisers are already behind the push.

If realized, their plan could allow for direct viewership figures from set-top boxes in any subscribing house in Canada. When this data is put together, advertisers, media buyers and networks can coordinate their efforts to deliver campaigns with measurable results. Reports indicate that the set-top box measurement program could be under way as early as 2017.

Combined with the ability for addressable TV, measurement collaboration could offer the tight, real-time feedback loops currently enjoyed by online advertising. The system will also serve as a model to markets like the U.S., where limited data sharing prevents TV ads from enjoying the near-360° control over ad-targeting and measuring that digital ads enjoy. Here is hoping that the future of TV will mean more collaboration and less walled gardens of data.

Getting Smart About  the Future of Advertising with EverSpark

EverSpark Interactive sticks to online marketing venues, but as the lines between TV and online streaming bleed together, the strategies involved will only become more entwined. Let us help you develop a sophisticated digital marketing strategy that will carry you through the present and future of media channels. Visit our digital marketing services page or contact us to learn more.