It’s springtime, which for advertisers means one thing: Upfronts. This year should play out even more interestingly than recent years. With the fallout from YouTube, more advertisers will be looking at the Upfronts as a safer alternative to YouTube. The Upfronts are essentially a completely brand safe environment with ads being bought for specific programming. Yet while the value for such an exchange is clear, especially considering what advertisers now know with YouTube, the TV landscape is changing so rapidly that many advertisers are still confused by what the Upfronts and promise of “advanced TV” actually offer.
According to the IAB, the notion of advanced TV is “any television content that has evolved beyond traditional, linear television delivery models. This umbrella term is inclusive of interactive TV, connected TV, smart TV, linear addressable and VOD addressable.”
Well that doesn’t help much, does it.
One way to break down the difference between regular TV or “linear TV” and advanced TV is to think of the traditional broadcasters like ABC, NBC and CBS as on the linear side and all the rest like Netflix and Hulu on the advanced side. Of course, there are crossovers when you consider a traditional broadcaster like HBO and its advanced TV offering HBOGo.
The real difference lies in how advertising works for linear TV vs advanced TV. With linear TV, the delivery of the ads is based off of the traditional models that have been in place for years. Ads are usually purchased based on basic demographics or by specific shows. Media planners and buyers use Gross Ratings Points or GRPs to determine how many people in their target audience will see their ad. GRPs are powered by Nielsen data. Linear TV is also typically purchased on an upfront model, so you have no flexibility in changing your buy once purchased.
Advanced TV is different in that advertising is bought against a bigger pool of data and can be served to a more precise group of people. It’s also much more flexible than linear TV, since buys are not locked in and can be changed depending on campaign performance.
It’s this flexibility and precision that makes advanced TV worthy of marketers’ attention. The specifics can be broken down into four categories.
Data + Accuracy = Increased ROI
The amount of data available through advanced TV is extremely robust, enabling marketers to more accurately buy television space that corresponds to a specific, highly-targeted audience group. With both first- and third-party information, advanced TV can significantly limit the number of impressions wasted on inaccurately-identified audiences.
While linear TV has long been able to target audiences based on their age, program interests and their approximate geographic location, traditional television has not been able to match an exact audience demographic, which brands increasingly need. With advanced TV, marketers can leverage third-party data segments that match the exact audience together with a client’s own first-party data to target the right consumer through television and online. From there, outreach can be expanded to users who have shown an interest in products during previous campaigns and then, via data modeling, to consumers with similar behaviors to those users. The advantage of this approach is that the targeting can be extremely granular if desired, looking at specific zip codes, times that users were viewing content as well as the broader context of what they were looking at.
Buy Linear TV More Effectively and Efficiently
Advanced TV offers advantages to marketers’ linear TV purchases as well. Thanks to the more detailed targeting achieved by running an advanced TV campaign, such as specific audience types, viewing times and the frequency of action resulting from the campaign, marketers can apply these insights to their linear buys. While linear TV would not have uncovered this level of information in its own right, adjusting linear buys in conjunction with advanced TV data can further increase ROI and promote more intelligent buying across platforms and formats.
Better Reporting and Measuring
In addition to improved data, advanced TV’s robust reporting and measurability capabilities enable marketers to more accurately establish the value of TV spots. The programmatic buying process offers up previously unseen insights, like the cost of reaching specific target audiences, pricing variations based on when ads are served as well as how much inventory is being sold within the programmatic environment.
With this data, marketers are able to better evaluate the specifics of success for any given advanced TV campaign, determining what time slots proved most effective in generating sales, the relative pricing of those slots and the most engaging content.
The findings this data uncovers results in a far stronger negotiating position for marketers when they meet with broadcast and cable stations, who will have insight into the value of unsold spots in different markets and will understand the price at which different inventory types and audiences can be obtained.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
Content is everywhere and consumers expect to be able access it at any given moment, on any platform or device, and it’s up to marketers to adapt to this behavior and engage their target audiences via their viewing channel of choice. And yet that engagement must still have meaning and significance to impact a brand’s ROI.
Advanced TV is here to stay. We can expect its adoption to be both swift and comprehensive. Brands look to their agency partners to help them ensure they are connecting with and engaging their target audiences as efficiently and effectively as possible. The advent of this medium is a terrific opportunity for marketers to provide new value and insight to their customers, getting them on the advanced TV train as early as possible.