After years of evolution, advertising technology is more powerful than ever. Today’s modern marketers target video content to highly specific audience groups, measuring performance with deep insight into how each viewer interacted with their ads. But for some reason, this approach has largely only been leveraged by digital marketers.
Most TV advertisers remain stuck targeting large demographic audience swaths, and their metrics fail to capture audience behavior at the viewer level. In a world of advanced targeting and measurement tools, why is TV held to a lower standard of accountability?
Some of this measurement gap comes down to structural challenges. TV is home to a fragmented marketplace with multiple cable operators and a shared screen where advertisers rarely know which individual is watching -- if anyone is in the room at all.
But TV’s measurement void is also a matter of will. Ultimately, advertisers endure incomplete TV metrics because they’ve made clear they’re willing to buy TV inventory regardless. If advertisers want better TV measurement, they need to demand it.
After all, new technology advances are making it increasingly possible for TV providers to offer targeting and measurement on par with online video. Why shouldn’t they be held to the same standards as their digital peers?
TV’s buying and measurement technology is getting better, but a major gap remains.
Fortunately, there are already better data tools available for TV advertisers who want them. In recent years, companies like clypd, 4Cinsights and VideoAmp have developed exciting new targeting options. Firms like Data + Math have introduced holistic measurement solutions for understanding viewer behavior. And all of us have benefited from the influx of household level TV tuning data provided by the likes of Vizio, TiVo and Samba.
However, none of these companies are able to tell advertisers whether their target customers actually saw their ads. On a laptop or mobile device, brands can safely assume that most people are actually looking at the screen while a video is running. But television is a passive medium, where consumers walk in and out of the room as they please.
TV advertisers shouldn’t pay for ads if they don’t know who they’re reaching. They shouldn’t pay for ads if they don’t know how they’re driving sales. And they absolutely, positively shouldn’t pay for ads that no ever sees.
It’s time for TV advertisers to demand more.
In order to hold TV advertising to the same standards as digital, TV marketers would do well take a page out of the digital marketer’s playbook.
While the overwhelming majority of publishers do their best to provide great service to their advertising clients, the major developments in advertising technology have been driven at least in part by buyers who refused to accept anything less. For years, digital advertisers simply accepted that purchasing ads online required them to pay for a whole bunch of impression the user was unable to see. Only once major brands threatened to pull their online ad dollars did publishers begin offering 100% digital viewable buys.
With each passing month, TV advertising technology gets a little bit better. Increasingly, it is not a question of whether publishers and technology platforms can deliver better targeting and metrics, but which leading TV advertisers will lean in. Those who do will have an unparalleled advantage over those who don’t.
For TV, the previously unmeasurable is becoming increasingly measurable. It’s up to advertisers to demand what they deserve.
It was great to connect in person with so many media insiders and visionaries at LUMA’s’s Digital Media Summit. As always, the conversation at LUMA’s event was engaging and forward- thinking. Here are my thoughts on some of the topics that bubbled up this week - namely alternative currencies, CTV growth and the enduring strength of linear TV.