Attribution: TV’s New BFF

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“Attribution” is the buzzword on every TV marketer’s lips these days — and for good reason.  Smart marketers put a priority on knowing what tools and tactics produce the best results.

And for years, even as marketers and buyers recognized television’s status as the most powerful medium and continued to allocate budgets accordingly, TV was challenged by its inability to demonstrate performance in the granular way digital could.  So today, while being able to assign credit to a marketing touchpoint is nothing new, it’s been a veritable game-changer for TV.  For those of us who work with television (and digital) advertisers every day, today’s attribution tools are helping us give them a clear picture of how TV provides value.

Attribution Drives Investment

We all know the power of TV and how it drives brand awareness, generates search spikes and helps move customers down the sales funnel. Thanks to a slew of new technologies and data partners, we’re able to provide highly coveted conversion analytics that makes TV measurable beyond the standard Nielsen post-campaign report.  Want to tie TV ad exposure to actual sales?  Done.  Web visits?  No problem.  Store visits? Sure!  (You get the idea.)

Through the lens of attribution, marketers can finally begin to include TV as they assess their return on advertising investment. Direct-to-consumer brands are a perfect example because of the clear relationship between their marketing tactics and sales.  In 2018, DTC brands invested a collective $3.8 billion in television ads.  That’s a 60% increase from 2017, according to a Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) report.

While some of that shift in investment is due to brands wanting to take advantage of the storytelling power and reach of TV, at least part is driven by new attribution capabilities that make it possible for those marketers to see how their television investments are driving web visits, search and, ultimately, sales.

Emerging brands such as Poshmark, Lyft and Dermstore invested $1.4 billion into the TV marketplace, a 167% lift from the prior year.  The results?  A double-, sometimes triple-digit increase in online search queries, as well as a 93% monthly increase of website visits from launch to today, according to the VAB.

In an interesting twist to the TV versus digital debate, the same digital companies that have been taking hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue from TV advertisers have chosen to invest their own marketing budgets in TV.  In fact, FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) may very well be among the biggest spenders on TV advertising in 2019.

Although in some ways, it is a challenging period for the television industry (with its fragmented audience and ever-increasing number of platforms), it’s clear that major brands understand the value TV brings, particularly with the attribution to prove it.

How NYI Does Attribution

How do these new television attribution capabilities work and how are we at NYI offering attribution capabilities to our clients?  Some may assume that because we offer household addressability, the precise household-level targeting we offer is the only thing we’re talking about when we discuss attribution.  But they would be wrong.

At NYI, we are able to attribute campaign performance to both addressable and linear — traditional television — campaigns.  While addressable is an incredible platform and offers demonstrable ROI for marketers who want to reach specific households, it’s not for everyone.  Marketers who need mass reach also want to know how their ads are performing.

For example, imagine an entertainment marketer interested in increasing the recognition of their show across the New York market.  This particular show needs broad reach, which means the entertainment marketer is interested in more than reaching specific households; they’re also interested in knowing how their campaign performed, rather than just where and when their ads were seen.

So, for this marketer, NYI’s ability to find insight from second-by-second set-top data from over 6 million households (all aggregated, and privacy protected, of course) is valuable.  Our media strategists use that data in conjunction with outside media and data providers to give the advertiser and its agency the insights they need to make future campaigns more effective (such as which networks and dayparts should be emphasized) and to demonstrate the true impact of their linear TV investment on the client’s key performance goals.  It’s reporting that will be familiar to anyone who has done addressable television, but with the efficiency and scale of traditional TV.

Today, advertisers want more actionable results.  That’s what motivates NYI — and the industry — to keep moving full speed ahead.  We’ve seen TV attribution work its magic on hundreds of campaigns across multiple verticals, from domestic and luxury automotive groups to pharma, finance and travel.  It won’t be long before every TV campaign has attribution attached to it; look for it to become the new normal.  TV isn’t going away, and these reporting capabilities will only reinforce its potential and relevance.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Tom Mcloughlin

VP, Regional Sales at NY Interconnect
As NYI’s Vice President of Regional Sales, Tom leads the execution of strategic media strategies, as well as account management for agencies and prospects. He is responsible for maximizing ad revenue across all platforms through the execution of data-driven, cross-screen campaign strategies that consistently deliver impressive results.

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