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Drive More Informed Media Planning With Linear TV Attribution


This article is sponsored by the New York Interconnect.

Attribution has long been the holy grail for TV advertising. Yet even without it, TV’s ability to reach audiences at scale and drive brand awareness has solidified it as one of the most powerful channels for advertisers. Advertising budgets continue to reinforce this value. In fact, in 2018, direct-to-consumer brands invested $3.8 billion in television ads – a 60% increase from 2017 – according to VAB, a research and marketing company.

However, in the age of granular digital campaign measurement and attribution, linear TV’s inability to match these capabilities has created headaches for advertisers trying to plan, manage and optimize omnichannel campaigns. According to a 2018 Kantar Millward Brown study, 8 out of 10 marketers agree that it’s tough to assess how well brands are performing across channels.

Until recently, advertisers had to choose between addressable TV, which uses data to target relevant households and provides campaign measurement—or linear TV, which offers reach and scale, but uses demographics for targeting and does not provide any back-end reporting. This left marketers unable to get reach or data because they didn’t have the right tools at their disposal to integrate these two critical capabilities.

And when it comes to ratings, standard Nielsen post-campaign reports can help assess reach and measure ratings, but again, advertisers need more. To create more informed media campaign plans, they need to be able to see how ad campaigns are performing – not just whether the ads were seen.

“The Nielsen numbers are great, and those rating points do have value for advertisers. But they can’t tell the whole story,” said Jim McGraw, Director of Advanced Advertising, at the New York Interconnect, a joint venture between Altice, Spectrum and Comcast. “That’s where set-top box data opens a new door for advertisers to begin to see the other side of their TV campaigns.”

Set-top box data unlocks granular campaign measurement

Powered by set-top box data from more than 6 million households in the New York market, the New York Interconnect is helping advertisers go deeper with attribution and measurement to begin to assess ROI and achieve more effective campaigns through traditional linear campaigns.

Set-top box data – at the scale of the country’s largest DMA – carries unique advantages when it comes to solving the TV attribution problem. For one, it’s second-by-second, one-to-one data matching capabilities allow NYI and advertisers to track the households exposed to an ad – and then how and where viewers took action. In collaboration with outside third-party matching providers, this means campaigns can close the loop on viewer behavior and track the KPIs that make the most sense for their vertical or market.

Each individual campaign might have different needs, according to McGraw.

“A financial institution, for example, might have a campaign where they are trying to get foot traffic into a branch location to open a checking account,” he said. “But at another time, they might try to drive website traffic to encourage people to apply for a credit card.”


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Third-party data partners can deliver important insights from a variety of sources to close the loop – such as using location data to measure lifts in store visits, tracking website visits and even measuring the lift in viewership for entertainment and media advertisers.

Secondly, access to set-top box data from Altice, Spectrum and Comcast – all from one single source – means campaigns can execute these attribution measurements across millions of households, rather than across the more limited scale of a single MVPD or addressable TV inventory.

Once advertisers can begin to measure their linear campaigns using the same tools and terms that have come to define their digital campaigns, with the reach and scale they’re looking for, they can begin to view campaigns – and the conversion path – more holistically.

“When you can see to the different touch points in the consumer journey and weave them together with attribution, you can cut through some of the advertising noise and more confidently assess your media plans and results with confidence,” McGraw said. “This is a critical step in the right direction to better demonstrate ROI throughout the process – from planning, to execution, to sales.”

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