The Impact and Importance of Addressable TV

BLOG POST 9/15/2021

Addressable TV is a highly effective and scalable way to drive relevant consumer experiences. Attention is the currency of the digital age, and relevance is how marketers earn it.

In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at addressability: What it is, how it’s changing and what’s possible.

TV advertising was simple in the days of I Love Lucy and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. With everyone watching the same few programs, it was possible to reach a massive audience with your brand message.

Forty years ago, you could buy the attention of 80% of America’s female population by running a single ad across the three major networks. Today, you’d have to run the same ad 3 times a day on 100 channels to have the same impact. But with addressability, you can do something better than reaching the masses: You can reach the right people.

Addressability: What is it?

Addressable TV is the ability to target people or households rather than programs. Addressability combines data and campaign objectives with a deep understanding of customer needs to deliver a tailor-made experience. With the right insights, addressability allows you to spend your ad dollars on audiences who meet specific parameters you dictate.

This is an opportunity to optimize relevance and timing, delivering effective brand engagement at scale. It’s a way of connecting your product, content or offer with the people who’d be most interested in it.

And thanks to identity-enabled technology, addressability has become highly scalable. Marketers can now resolve first-party data from multiple offline and online sources and connect it to audiences across the addressable TV landscape.

First and foremost, facilitating at-scale addressability requires a massive understanding of people, homes and their devices. When you target at the household level to reach people watching over-the-top TV, there are many more device types and signals to consider, including connected TVs, streaming devices, IP addresses, gaming consoles and more. When you can accurately map those signals to the correct household, you can execute precision-targeted, addressable ad campaigns. And when that mapping can happen across nearly all connected homes, then scale starts to become a possibility. This makes a household-level identity graph a prerequisite to scalable addressable and connected TV campaigns.

With a graph that accurately resolves devices and signals at a near census-level, brands can land data-driven impressions with intended targets — without compromising scale and wasting advertising dollars.

How addressability is evolving in the realm of TV and digital

Anybody with a Netflix account knows television is going through a revolution. The 2020 health pandemic and stay-at-home orders only fueled our digital acceleration — time spent with connected TV in 2020 shot up roughly 33%.

As the way people watch — and stream — programing changes, advertisers need to adapt to reach potential customers. eMarketer estimates more than 50 million households are cord-cutters or cord-nevers, and by 2024, most households won’t have a pay TV subscription. That means advertisers who haven’t adopted connected media targeting may already be sacrificing a huge addressable audience.

TV had long been the highest category of ad spending before these shifts. But in 2017, TV was finally eclipsed by digital for the first time. US digital ad spending will experience its fastest growth rate since 2018 and account for almost three-quarters of total media ad spend by 2024.  

However, the technology advances driving this digital upheaval are also powering innovations in addressable TV advertising content. By featuring the precision targeting capabilities of digital, the connected devices challenging traditional TV often offer greater opportunities for addressability based on the individual or household rather than the content being watched. And with a more targeted approach, advertisers can drive more relevant, timely and seamless user experiences.

Closing thoughts

Addressability gives you the power to scale relevance. It’s an opportunity to meet more of the right people wherever they may spend viewing time — rather than aiming for a big reach and crossing your fingers in hopes of generating enough return on advertising spend to meets your goals.

This fast-growing form of advertising is ideally suited to the massive changes we’re seeing in where and how people consume media, and it feeds off data insights that will only get deeper and more precise as these technologies develop.

But at the end of the day, your customers don’t care about ROI or reach or conversion rates. They care about their experience. Connecting customers with relevant products and services is the best way to create genuine and timely interactions.