It's the media industry's new favorite four-letter word: data.
True, it has always been an important factor in how campaigns are built, executed and evaluated. But now, thanks to myriad technological advancements, data has become the heart of all things advertising, giving life to campaigns in ways we never thought possible.
According to eMarketer, U.S. advertisers will spend $2.5 billion in addressable TV advertising in 2019, growing to $3.4 billion in 2020. As advertisers have become more educated regarding advanced TV advertising, they have seen the immense value of using data to plan advanced TV campaigns and measure ROI, all in a 100% privacy compliant manner.
The media industry has effectively moved beyond selling age/gender targets, thanks in large part to digital's ability to precisely target audiences and match to ad exposure and outcomes despite its shortcomings. We are no longer confined to traditional ways of selling TV; rather, marketers and agencies can partner with data providers, MVPDs and attribution companies to not only determine if their campaign met their objective, but also use a test-and-learn approach to enact positive results for future campaigns.
Where there's data, there is often mention of privacy, as well. Privacy is typically addressed as a potential challenge or obstacle to advanced TV advertising, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), which came into effect in the U.S. in May 2018, is making all U.S. organizations subject to maintaining the data privacy of individuals. However, data companies are utilizing safe-haven matching partners to match data sources, thereby ensuring confidentiality. More importantly, once the data sources are matched, organizations making use of the data have no need to view or use an individual's actual personally identifiable information (PII) when carrying out the specific workflows that make advanced TV possible. The respective parties that utilize the data only need to view it in an anonymized fashion ("Person 5XW7," rather than "Jane Doe at 123 Main St. Anytown, USA"). These anonymized IDs allow data science teams to match one set of data to another (e.g. Person 5XW7 bought a car); the actual name and physical address of a person are immaterial to this task.
As an industry, we need to understand and embrace the steps currently being taken to ensure data privacy, so that we can better leverage the data sets being used, whether it be TV viewing behavior, digital behavior or first or third-party data. With data privacy attained, households and behaviors can then be mapped to website visitation, sales purchases and retail visits, to name a few. The marketer, meanwhile, can plan their campaign accordingly from an audience perspective, rather than looking solely through an age/gender or reach/frequency lens. Thus, campaigns can take a more data-driven approach, providing ease of execution within data and tech stacks, and ultimately providing the right ROI metrics.
Other interesting by-products are the numerous joint ventures and partnerships that have formed across the industry, providing one-stop shops that enable one holistic workflow to plan, target and measure an audience-driven campaign in the New York market. For example, Altice USA, Charter and Comcast formed the New York Interconnect (NYI), a joint venture that eliminates the need for agencies to reach out to multiple organizations to execute a regional or national campaign, and at the same time demonstrated performance on the back-end. With an audience-based buying approach, NYI is able to reach over 17 million customers wherever they're consuming content, regardless of platform or screen.
The future of advertising goes beyond the boundaries of traditional TV and digital video, extending to environments, such as in-game advertising and outdoor kiosks. Device and identity graphs will be used to thread users and their behaviors within an IoT universe. In January, FreeWheel announced that it's connecting its linear TV and digital video ad delivery systems in an effort to unify audience delivery across platforms. This is a great step in reporting on campaign performance across platforms, which can hopefully lead to the addition of VOD and OTT.
As you know, if you can't measure it, you can't sell it. Thus, just as marketers need to connect the dots of ad exposure across platforms, so too do measurement and attribution firms. Therein lies the challenge of how to target audiences and measure both impressions and attribution across all screens. NYI is currently able to leverage various datasets from its partnerships with the MVPDs and third-party data providers and match ad exposure to outcomes for linear TV and addressable TV/digital with VOD soon to follow. The more touchpoints measured along the consumer path to purchase, the better we can adjust the exposure levers, thus allowing for greater efficiency and positive outcomes.
With more and more agencies and advertisers getting into the data game, it's becoming easier to prove the value of audience-based buying and selling with an increasing number of case studies now available. Data has always been at the core of the media industry, and with more companies joining forces to stitch together attitudinal, behavioral, exposure and outcome data, we can target the right audience with the right message, allowing for a better consumer experience.
Photo by Franki Chamaki/Unsplash
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