GETTING ADDRESSABLE RIGHT: Lessons learned on the front lines of TV innovation
Jul 15th, 2020
Written by Bob Ivins
With the country in a temporary slow-down, many advertising budgets have been trimmed or redirected. In this shifting environment, many advertisers are looking for not just greater flexibility, but greater accountability. Addressable TV is becoming more and more of a powerful tool in a marketer’s tool-kit to meet both of these needs. In 2019, Ampersand took initial steps to help advertisers realize the true value of addressable TV, by unifying the addressable capabilities of Comcast, Charter, and Cox into one consolidated offering. In doing so, Ampersand established the largest addressable TV footprint in the country.
Last month, Ampersand took another step, incorporating the Verizon Fios footprint as well. Now, with a combined reach into over 60% of addressable households, and over 200 addressable campaigns under its belt, Ampersand has experience that is comprehensive and unique.
Addressability is a tactic; audience buying is a strategy
Many advertisers who get introduced to addressable technology immediately believe that all TV advertising should be addressable. But the reality is not so simple. TV advertising represents a continuum of targeting precision: broad reach, contextual and/or geographic approaches, and now, household-level precision. Each of these tactics is valuable depending on the marketer’s specific goals – but addressability not a strategy.
Rather, the underlying strategy for TV marketers should be focused on defining and finding audiences beyond simply age/sex demographics. With an audience at the core, the tactics simply become the menu to bring together data and access to inventory for an audience-based media plan. Household addressability, for example, is a particularly valuable tactic for marketers looking to drive lower-funnel outcomes connected deterministically to TV exposure. Household addressability is also uniquely effective at efficiently delivering incremental reach to under exposed households. But again, those examples of addressability are execution tactics to deliver on the primary goal of reaching an ‘audience’.
Let’s state the obvious – scale matters
The ironic paradox of household addressability is that it only works with scale. In order to find sufficient numbers of the consumers you want to reach to justify the cost of data and media, especially for customized or niche audiences, you need a robust starting point representing as much of the country as possible. This is precisely why Ampersand and its owners and affiliates unified addressable solutions across the combined footprint. Good for marketers and good for the TV industry, establishing unparalleled scale with one method and one client conversation has enabled addressable growth to hit overdrive.
Know your audience – especially if it’s your audience
The “secret sauce” of addressability is a high match rate. This can only occur when starting with name/address, which MVPD have, and linking that to offline data sets (in a double-blind, privacy-safe manner). There are so many available data sets that it can be overwhelming to marketers new to the tactic. When asked who their target is, marketers may initially reply “adults 25-54”. Instead, via addressability, marketers can now find their customers with all of the data available to them. For example, auto advertisers can work with IHS Polk or Experian to find consumers currently in the market for a new car. CPG advertisers can work with IRI or Catalina to identify and target heavy shoppers in a given CPG category.
Advertisers who have a CRM database, have a huge advantage. By anonymously matching their own customer list to TV subscriber homes (in a double-blind, privacy-safe manner), they can create targetable segments. An addressable campaign targeting these segments allows these marketers to speak directly to their customers in the highest-quality media environment, TV. Marketers that have realized how valuable their own data is have rightly developed a near-obsession with utilizing that asset to further their marketing strategy.
Then measure again
The full benefit of precision targeting can only be achieved through measuring the value of that precision – in terms of reach, efficiency, and effectiveness. The right KPI to focus on should correspond directly to what the goal was in the first place. For example, marketers trying to maximize reach against their customer base can calculate the effective CPM to reach an additional 1000 homes, a rate that will more often than not be superior to typical national network campaigns. Or, they can analyze behavioral lift (consideration behavior, sales activity) directly attributable to the addressable media.
The savviest marketers will put together a learning plan associated with their addressable TV approach that allows them to incorporate insights from their campaign to make improvements on the next one, or to track them over time to better inform their long-term business strategy. One of Ampersand’s Tier 1 auto clients has run an “always on” campaign dating back to 2018. As a result, they have longitudinal insights and can determine if their audience segmentation continues to be the right approach; and in the past 3 quarters, have seen sales performance steadily increase.
Source: Ampersand HH addressable campaign targeting in-market Auto consumers are defined by Experian. Sales lift compares sales rate for exposed (targeted) homes vs. sales rate for held-out control group, as measured by Experian.
Marketers who understand the need to go audience-first across their TV investment portfolio will be best equipped to take advantage of household addressable capabilities. Combining scaled solutions with marketers’ targeting and measurement preferences will drive superior campaign performance. And with further changes on the horizon – cross-platform optimization, frequency capping, ad sequencing, new approaches for rationalizing identity, especially in a cookie-less world –getting started is highly recommended, versus standing still.
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