Why Ad Buyers Are Focused On Targeting In TV

"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Nielsen’s recent agreement with Roku is poised to accelerate the growth of addressable TV advertising.

And with Disney’s recent announcement that it plans to automate more than half of its business and make the majority of its inventory – both linear and digital – addressable within five years, it seems that addressable TV is about to have its moment.

Jen Soch, GroupM’s executive director for specialty channels and the agency’s advanced TV lead, said 2021 will be the year of advanced targeting in video, with more opportunities to dynamically serve ads.

Still, addressable can mean different things when it comes to linear and streaming, said Soch, who recently spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: With the rapid shift to streaming, where does addressablity fit in the TV landscape, and what will addressability look like this time next year?

JEN SOCH: Addressability is a piece of the puzzle. What’s circling in the middle of this is how and where we’re going to bring advanced targeting to all of the inventory that we have in the marketplace, with CTV being one, streaming being another, and household addressability being a third, among many others. Programmatic is in that mix, digital is in that mix.

What do you think about the prospects for addressability in linear?

I’m ridiculously excited about where targeting has gone. It has advanced to incredible measures. I feel really positive about our targetability in this advanced TV space if I include all of the platforms in there.

Household addressability will partner nicely with programmatic for us to give a solution for clients that include in the future both of those things wrapped up in the same picture. We probably have issues now more with systems and frequency capping.

But I do see a world in the future where we will buy this in concert with our programmatic friends just as we do digital today. When I look at my magic eight ball, I see a world where addressable targeting in linear partners with programmatic targeting in digital to have one view of the marketplace. As technology is coming together for linear, my wish is for research to keep up so we can put forth a holistic consumer view of video.

Are we seeing a bigger push into addressable by major players like Disney this year following all of the disruption in 2020?

We have been in such a stagnant place with addressability and this is an exciting time for us. I think where we look at ratings eroding [in linear] and we have more people going CTV, there is more possibility for us to dynamically serve consumers.

Advanced targeting is so much more than just moms and women in the household. This [will be] a year where we encourage clients to bring their databases to someone like a LiveRamp so that we can adjust it and bring in more first-party audiences, and start to really move it forward. We’ve used a lot of third-party [providers] in the past, and I’m really hopeful – and Roku is the beginning of that – where we can start to move this even more in the right direction.

How much TV inventory is addressable? Have you noticed different owners (WarnerMedia, Disney, NBCU, etc.) going about their addressability strategies differently? In what way?

There are a lot of people using the word addressability and some of it is about advanced targeting and some of it is about true addressability. AMC is trying to work on some national addressability – that is, the insertion over a live stream in national. That’s different.

What I’m truly excited about is addressability in terms of advanced targeting, the selling of impressions, moving toward looking at the whole marketplace differently.

The local market is a great example – we are changing over to impression-based [buying]. You’re going to see more of it this year as we move toward the upfronts, more talk about impressions, more talk about advanced targeting.

What's the biggest misconception around addressable TV today?

The biggest misconception is that you can have consecutive messaging or sequential messaging. What we really need to keep in mind is that people’s privacy is paramount. It’s not search yet … it is very much about household-level targeting, and we don’t really know who you are.

I think there is a misconception about how deep can you target and bring in first-party data. We’re starting to be able to move those needles a little bit further along. It’s not retargetable, but we can start to target more than we’ve ever been before.

What would be your biggest “ask” for TV media companies, from a buyer’s point of view?

We need to work on some of the backend systems and we need to work on the business handshakes to make all this work in concert together. We really need a holistic measurement system in the marketplace so that when we go to plan things out we can really see the front and the back end of all that we’re doing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Follow Tony Rifilato (@Tone1870) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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