Over the past few weeks, we have seen major players in TV and CTV (connected TV) make major moves that will shape how TV will be bought in the future.
Having gotten clearance from a federal judge (a decision being appealed by the Justice Department), AT&T purchased Time Warner and followed that up with the acquisition of AppNexus. Meanwhile, Roku has launched a new marketplace for TV ad inventory called Audience Marketplace, with Fox, Turner and Viacom signing on to participate. And let’s not forget that Google last year began testing selling TV ads via DoubleClick Bid Manager, and Adobe and Facebook are also involved in the space.
Shifts in the market like these present opportunities for brands. Moving from “appointment TV” to “content on demand” has caused agencies to rethink how they plan and buy TV. Within the industry, even calling it “TV” may no longer be accurate. From linear and non-linear to OTT and CTV, the marketplace is very different from what it used to be.
The most exciting aspect of the shift is the ability to utilize data to inform planning efforts and refine buying efforts. Given that a 4A’s report from 2015 said that up to 30 percent of US households were addressable in that year, and the fact that the number of addressable households has likely grown quite a bit since then, brands now have a unique opportunity to engage the right audience.
Shopping data is one of the primary resources utilized by agencies and brands to ensure their ads are being delivered to the right people. Whether it’s via online/offline account linking, loyalty cards or store credit cards, retailers have a variety of methods for collecting and utilizing data about consumers’ purchasing behavior. There are even third-party sources for this kind of data, such as Kantar Worldpanel Shopcom.
So, how can shopping data be used? One easy way is to target users who have purchased a competitive product. You also could look into products purchased by your target audience. Do they have affinities toward specifics brands or products?
If you are marketing, say, Mountain Dew, and you notice that a lot of people who buy Mountain Dew also buy Doritos frequently, you could use that data to target non-Mountain-Dew-drinking Doritos buyers with ads encouraging them to try the caffeine-rich beverage. This is typically called building a “lookalike” audience because you’re finding people who look like your typical customer in some ways but haven’t yet purchased your product.
Big-ticket purchases, like automobiles, can also give you a unique window into customers’ lifestyles and purchasing power. Someone who purchases a Mercedes most likely purchases other luxury goods, while someone who drives a Kia is unlikely to be shopping at Gucci. Information on car ownership is available from state motor vehicle records, as well as from partners such as Experian.
Understanding what your competitors are doing on TV can be a tremendous help to you in creating your strategy. Knowing how frequently they are advertising, at what times they are advertising and on what shows they are advertising can help you get insight into their overall strategy. Various companies make this kind of third-party data available to advertisers.
Once you’ve got your hands on this data, you can adjust your strategy in keeping with what competitors are doing, when they’re doing it and how effective they are. Some vendors even allow you to target individuals through digital advertising when your competitors are running their TV advertising.
Though this kind of data has long been a mainstay of TV advertising, more and more information is being collected on viewers and their consumption of content. ISPs and cable providers — not to mention players like TiVo, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon — have access to consumers’ viewership patterns, their addresses and other household related data. With companies like Comcast branching out into mobile devices (through their Xfinity Mobile brand) and cable companies expanding into home security, the data they can collect is almost endless.
The reason this type of data has long been key for decision-making is that selecting the right network and the right programming have always been recognized as key to a TV ad strategy. While brands may know not to advertise wedding rings on Nickelodeon, when it comes down to truly reaching your audience, data at the program level is key to success.
Needless to say, the state of people’s health is a major factor in how they live their daily lives. Insights into diseases and ailments can help brands better understand their consumers’ lives and present opportunities for engagement.
Companies like Crossix and Symphony Health are aggregating data from pharmacies, insurers and providers — and, in some cases, combining it with media consumption and demographic data — to help marketers develop a deep understanding of consumers and their health. All of this data is made available in an aggregate and non-personally-identifiable way, of course, as there’s a need to comply with HIPPA regulations that mean that health data cannot be used as freely as other forms of data.
Pulling it all together
No single data source that will be a silver bullet, but by bringing them all together, you can gain some valuable insights to drive your advertising strategy. For example, automotive data and data from shopping behavior can help you understand who might be most responsive to your luxury brand advertising.
As companies like AT&T, Roku and others continue to push TV to new heights, data and the insights you are able to derive from them will set you and your brand apart.