How Just For Men Uses Connected TVs Without CTV Inventory

Television advertising is turning gray, but TV data is here to brush in the color.

At least that’s the take from Combe, the grooming and hair care product company that runs the Just for Men hair coloring brand.

In the past couple of years, Just for Men’s media mix shifted from primarily TV to a nearly even split with digital, said Michael Gladstone, Combe’s former media data analytics manager who this month took a new position at Roku.

The explosion of connected TVs and data companies that offer ways to tie TV audiences to business outcomes like foot traffic and sales has partially fueled this trend, said Gladstone.

To be fair, TV budget hasn’t migrated to OTT – but that inventory gets picked up when the media plan includes Roku or Hulu digital video buys, he said.

The strongest OTT pitch is to target an audience that doesn’t exist on linear TV, Gladstone said, but that isn’t a huge sell for a brand like Just for Men looking for mostly older viewers.

“We still know TV has worked so well that we’ll continue to invest at these levels,” he said. “But there’s still a huge opportunity to get smarter about the TV audiences we’re going after.”

Vendors with smart TV or OTT measurement infrastructure, such as Alphonso, help brands like Combe get smarter. Alphonso is a TV data provider that tracks commercials and audience exposure by listening to connected TVs that can now more effectively connect sales lift to ad campaigns.

Ashish Chordia, Alphonso’s founder and CEO, said the company still sees distinct approaches from programmatic-native advertisers using connected TVs to drive search, social and video dollars when a TV commercial is performing well and from established TV advertisers who more often want to tie commercial exposure to store sales or brand sentiment.

“The space is evolving rapidly, though, and within a couple years I think those conversations with the digital and TV sides will be happening in one place and handled by a single team,” Chordia said.

TV data collection could bring a measurement revolution to TV similar to programmatic technology with online ads – and that will mean complicating media plans as often as clarifying.

A CPG brand like Just for Men, for example, now has new data providers and probabilistic models tying media to store traffic it must validate and a potential channel to factor into frequency capping, Gladstone said.

“We may not be a big CTV advertiser,” he said, “but I’m still really excited about how quickly that industry is bringing attribution capabilities to TV.”

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