TV Networks Make Additional Moves to “Measure Up” To Digital

 In Blog, TV

For all the challenges television advertisers have had to navigate as a result of the rise of digital, the ever-increasing overlap of the two realms is pushing a wave of tech innovation that is giving marketers new opportunities to grow revenues amid shifting viewing habits and content formats. These innovations—products that leverage consumer and TV viewing data to make TV ad inventory more like digital in terms of targeting, measurement and assessment of business value played prominently at the recent Upfront presentations. Here are some of the partnerships that sparked those conversations and the ways they aim at giving advertisers new means of extracting additional value from TV campaigns.

Accelerating Advanced TV Targeting
Advanced TV targeting, which allows advertisers to serve unique ads to specific households as opposed to a one-size-fits-all delivery based on broad demographics of age or gender, has been on advertisers’ radar for years now but, according to a recent eMarketer report, only accounts for about 3% of all national TV ad volume at present. But the report also noted that based on Upfront presentations, media agencies and TV networks alike are bullish on advanced targeting’s prospects. “There’s a solid realization that advanced TV targeting has been set in motion and is likely to stay in motion, given the ultimate rewards for advertisers and the potential for the TV industry to maintain vitality.”

This win-win rationale is what CBS and Nielsen cited when announcing their new addressable advertising offering that leverages new automatic content recognition technology from Gracenote to bring dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to live, linear national broadcast TV. In the Broadcast & Cable article on the deal, Nielsen expressed its commitment to leveraging new technologies to help deliver more advanced targeting capabilities to brands that are trying to keep pace as TV delivery gets more digital.

Pushing For Standards
One of the biggest impediments to advanced TV targeting’s growth to date, according to eMarketer, has been the lack of standardization around the growing number of targeting offerings because networks generally use their own ad products and sources of data, which makes it cumbersome for advertisers who want to target the same group across different TV networks. But NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner and Viacom just announced a multi-year partnership designed to push standards forward through a platform that allows advertisers to target specific audiences (using Nielsen and comScore data) and seamlessly push the ads across multiple networks.

It’s a first step toward the industry standardization needed. And a significant one given that when the participating networks’ portfolios are taken together, they comprise 50% of the total TV inventory across broadcast and cable.

Building the Business Case
But it isn’t just targeting that’s in the networks’ sights. The intent to offer new forms of campaign measurement that go beyond traditional viewing numbers and Nielsen ratings and toward the more granular, business-oriented data examination that digital offers, is also a focus.

NBCUniversal, for example, just announced a partnership with iSpot, a real-time analytics provider, to provide attribution metrics to advertisers that will let them better measure a TV campaign’s impact on business objectives. According to the Wall Street Journal, NBCU plans to begin working with clients to identify specific business objectives—driving web traffic, social media mentions or offline sales—and then work with iSpot to track the success of the ad against the objectives. NBCU cited advances in ad tech for allowing the network to finally move from restrictive legacy measurement to those more closely tied to the business needs of advertisers.

NBCU isn’t the only one taking up the business case. A+E Networks said it would be utilizing data from measurement company Data + Math and other partners to offer new business-oriented attribution measures that include insights on how ads fuel business outcomes by monitoring the web visits and in-store traffic generated by the ads. A+E noted that in a time when marketers are capitalizing on digital media data, they felt it was important for TV to begin developing similar offerings to keep pace with evolving advertiser needs.

It’s clear that while the rise of digital is forcing the evolution of TV beyond its traditional ways of offering content and ad buying, digital is also inspiring the next phase of offerings that will help TV continue to grow ad revenues in new and exciting ways.

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