Ask the iSpot Expert: Addressable TV Advertising

In our “Ask the iSpot Expert” blog series, one of our very own at iSpot walks us through their area of expertise in TV and video ad measurement. 

Largely driven by disruption from the pandemic, addressable TV is gaining its long awaited traction in the marketing world. Steve Murtos, VP of Customer Success, explains how far addressable has come, where it’s headed and how measurement can help marketers overcome challenges in the space. Steve has had a career at the forefront of addressable TV advertising, even co-founding a company that advised marketers on where and how to activate addressable media buys. 

Question #1: How is addressable advertising shaping the TV marketplace?

Addressable has always been considered the holy grail of TV advertising — it’s the ability to deliver a specific message to a specific audience, maximizing efficiency and effectiveness in a campaign. The benefits are great for marketers and the media companies that are developing the capabilities. It’s also great for consumers to see messages that are more relevant to them, which ultimately creates a better viewing experience.

There’s certainly positive momentum in the marketplace right now, as different media companies have come together over the past several years to develop capabilities to make addressable TV happen. And it will continue to grow in the coming years. There are some people that say addressable advertising will be the only format that’s available, or that all TV advertising will be addressable. There is no doubt, the future for addressable TV is bright. 

Question #2: Even with all the momentum, addressable buys are still a small piece of the TV media pie. Why is that? What are the challenges marketers face when it comes to addressable advertising?

The biggest challenge is that while addressable TV comes in many different formats, there are many different ways to buy it, making it extremely complicated for marketers to navigate the space. You can buy set-top-box based addressable ads through media companies like Comcast, DirectTV and Dish. You can also buy it through OTT and streaming platforms like Hulu and Roku, and now some of the big TV networks are developing capabilities where you can deliver addressable ads through network inventory.

It’s also complicated from a technical standpoint, which creates a bit of hesitation and uncertainty. Marketers may not fully understand how it works, and to some it may not be considered a proven channel. 

On top of all the different formats and complicated technology, there are other unknowns that make measurement essential for answering questions like:  Which approach  should I use? What audience target is best? What should my investment be? How many impressions should I expect? How can I optimize?

Question #3: Let’s dive more into that. Why is a unified view important for cross-screen advertisers? What can they do with it?

Initially when cross-screen media started, it was very “test and learn” oriented. It was a “let’s put a little bit of spend in this space and see what happens” approach. Most addressable ad campaigns didn’t have KPIs or measurement — people were randomly doing things without the framework for how to think about it.

If you need to decrease your linear budget to invest in addressable ads, but you don’t have the insights to know how that will impact your business outcomes, that becomes a risk. Having the ability to measure addressable alongside linear, offers  a unified view that provides confidence and value for marketers.  

In today’s world of highly fragmented TV viewing, it becomes even more important to monitor all the viewing activity that’s happening across the different devices and formats. TV and digital video are just too significant as media channels for marketers to not have an understanding of how they work as a whole. Being able to do that in real time with access to data that pulls everything together  — reach, frequency, demographic performance, conversion activity —  is essential for modern marketers. 

Question #4: What would you recommend to marketers who are building a media measurement strategy that includes linear and addressable TV? 

The number one thing I would recommend is establishing a measurement plan. They need to understand what capabilities exist and how they align with their KPIs for that plan. With addressable, the focus is often on audience targeting, but measurement is equally if not more important —  if you can’t measure it, or you don’t have a sense of what’s happening, it’s not valuable.

Also, make sure the partners that are included in the addressable plan are fully aware of what your requirements are. Be clear in your expectations, and don’t be afraid to push boundaries. There are a lot of data available in the marketplace and a myriad of capabilities to bring that data together for measurement. A lot of times we hear “that’s too hard” or “we don’t have the time or resources to do that the right way.” With all that’s available nowadays, that should never be an excuse. Marketers should always be pushing the envelope on expectations around measurement. This really hasn’t been prioritized in the way it should be.

Question #5: As we head into upfronts season, what should brands consider when planning linear and addressable buys?

While much of the world was disrupted in 2020, TV measurement has grown and really came into its own this past year. The pandemic forced so much change, but a positive outcome has been the data and insights available to understand the impact. 

Amazing opportunities continue to be available for marketers across linear and addressable activation and measurement. Use the insights we’ve gleaned from this past year to power even more robust cross-platform approaches. Make 2021 the year you finally allocate budgets to orchestrate fully integrated media plans with unified measurement across all channels.

Did you just recently add addressable TV advertising to your media plan? Are you struggling to measure ad activity across linear and CTV buys? Get cross-platform TV ad measurement in real-time with Unified Measurement from iSpot. Request a demo today!


About the Author

Sammi Scharninghausen is a Marketing Manager at iSpot.tv. She covers brand impact, TV advertising trends and industry events. For questions and inquiries, please contact marketing@ispot.tv.