Are Times Finally Changing for Traditional TV Ad Measurement?

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Marshall Wong, SVP of Market Development for Television at Tapad shares his insights into the changing world of TV advertising.

What do Cheers and Breaking Bad have in common? Despite both being popular (but very different) Emmy award-winning TV programs from very different decades, marketers largely used the same approach to engage consumers on both shows: age and gender pairings.So much success was had with the original model of TV advertising that the methodology didn’t change much over the past 30 years. Through data sourced from small panels, brands competed for placements on the most popular programs, casting a wide net to gain exposure with their ideal target consumer. Marketers rationalized the many blind spots in the data: sales went up when the TV was on and sales went down when it was off.

But now, seasoned marketers are demanding greater precision in how TV is planned, executed and measured today. Brand-specific audiences can be targeted through live TV with a level of precision much closer to digital, helping brands find their ideal audiences among an ever-increasing pool of networks, programs and platforms.

Media sellers and buyers have long struggled with transacting on video content across screens through a single metric. The problem has compounded with the substantial growth of video consumption outside of live/linear. Nielsen’s roll-out of TCR is an example of the industry taking friction out of the process. However, as the industry waits for addressable linear to fully roll out, marketers continue to push for greater accuracy in reaching the audiences they’re really after through TV buys.

Here are three tips every marketer should consider when thinking about TV campaign measurement in the digital age:

1) Think about context on both traditional and digital TV

The new model of TV advertising allows you to leverage digital data sets, including online and offline converters. Optimizing where ads should be placed means finding and engaging the right consumers in the best context – including on traditional linear TV – and understanding the weight of your advertising in terms of relevance to specific content. For example, through digital data sets, one may find a significant portion of Breaking Bad viewers are active gamblers. In this case, an advertisement for a Las Vegas casino will fit much more seamlessly within the scope of the program, as opposed to an ad for a popular toy. Marketers should start viewing TV spots as part of the overall programming time slot rather than two siloed forms of visual content.

2) Real-time feedback allows you to refine as you go

It’s now possible – in both linear and digital environments – to measure engagement in near real time and optimize future placements based on past performance. With the right technology in place, you should be able to gain meaningful results from your very first campaign.

Emerging technology allows marketers to glean actionable insights across various devices and screens, ensuring precision and, often times, global scale. Having the appropriate technology will help marketers better understand their consumers’ digital journey and ultimately help pave the path to purchase. Maximizing mobile ad campaigns in real time and using these insights for TV buys allows for a deeper level of understanding. TV ads leveraging data from consumers’ other connected devices change the way the dots are connected between broadcast ads and business outcomes.

In today’s fractured digital world, marketers need advanced solutions to better measure and monetize targeted audiences. New products are allowing advertising to gain traction with unified messaging in a privacy-safe setting, no matter the platform, device or screen.

3) Make better use of existing data sets

Audiences are fragmenting, with primetime no longer affording the same guarantee of relevant, mass market coverage. However, you can now access highly valuable audiences outside of primetime provided the appropriate tools. Thanks to substantial investments in CRM systems and DMPs, much of the infrastructure for discovering digital audiences on TV is already in place. It’s about mining these existing data sets to gain a deeper understanding of who your audiences are and how they behave.

Marketers have done an admirable job using legacy TV data sets to build the industry up to its current state, but it’s time to bring new tools into the stack. With consumers showing an unwavering appetite for premium, long-form content, TV will continue to remain a massive component of the marketing mix. New solutions will provide a graceful, future-proof bridge as TV distribution, advertising and measurement continue to evolve.

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