Television has been the darling of the ad world ever since the 1950s, when almost 90% of American households acquired TV sets. But in 2016, we have now brought more screens home than ever before, consuming media not only on TV, but also via phones, tablets, and desktops.
For years, marketers have leveraged data across devices to inform their digital ad strategies. But one device has long stood outside of data scientists’ reach. Although it has long been part of a consumer’s cross-device journey, marketers have traditionally been unable to analyze or target TV viewers with much precision.
Thanks to technology, this is set to change. Unlike their 1950s counterparts, people today view connected TV across devices—catching up on a Netflix series from their phones or browsing Amazon Prime Video from their tablets. This change in consumer behavior has enabled marketers to access and use insights gleaned from various devices to target their ideal television audience for the first time in history. Connected TV is the latest addition to the world of cross-device targeting.
Given that TV has been part of the cross-device consumer journey for a while, it's now time to make connected TV an inextricable part of cross-device marketing strategies. With programmatic spending on TV ads estimated to rise by over 125% this year alone, the advertising industry is likely to see more and more brands leveraging cross-device data and analytics to target TV junkies. So let’s go ahead and play matchmaker and make them inseparable.
Cross-Device: The Way Of The World
Today, the average American household owns more than five connected devices. But with parents, spouses, and kids sharing a number of those devices, it has become challenging for marketers to identify potential customers.
Brands that continue to target by device will likely be disappointed by device-specific low engagement rates. And viewers won’t be happy, either: A teenager browsing American Apparel hoodies on her father’s iPad might feel annoyed by an irrelevant ad that appears and asks her to switch life insurance companies.
Brands need to target users, not devices, and new cross-device marketing solutions have finally made that possible. A well-known music streaming company, for instance, is using programmatic technology to gather and analyze large amounts of data from various sources as customers listen to music on their devices. Since introducing cross-device into its marketing strategy, the music company has been successfully segmenting its audiences for more effective targeting. It has gained the ability to send loyal customers special incentives and is now able to prevent active users from receiving first-time user offers.
When marketers are able to target people, not cookies, they are able to deliver the right message to the right consumer on the right device.
Until now, marketers have been unable to use cross-device to address one of consumers’ favorite devices: connected TV. Younger viewers especially tend to switch seamlessly from mobile devices to TV sets, starting an episode on one device and finishing it on another. This evolving television viewing behavior is precisely why TV advertising has become vital to any comprehensive cross-channel marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, connected TV and other devices have functioned more like unacquainted friends of friends than the match made in heaven that they ought to be. Cross-device and PTV need to get acquainted—fast. A successful coupling of the two would yield incredible results for marketers and the brands they work for, for example, through powerful capabilities such as cross-device frequency control at the household level.
Let’s say an adventure sports brand notices an outdoorsy household located near the Adirondack Mountains browsing for a competitor’s boots online. With razor-sharp targeting made possible by cross-device analytics, the adventure sports brand can serve the household a competitive TV ad featuring its brand of adventure boots later that same day. The brand can even follow up by sending a coupon to the household’s cell phones later that week. The most advanced cross-device technology providers can even use advanced modeling to move away from “run of network” or contextual buys to create additional scale while still maintaining accuracy.
Top marketers have already begun bringing TV in their cross-device strategies. One luxury car company is using a cross-device solution to target affluent “cord-cutter” Millennials—those who have parted ways with their cable subscriptions. Its technology provider served over 2.5 million impressions to connected TVs programmatically, which resulted in a 40% increase in video completion rates and a 20% increase in engagement for the luxury car brand.
The Joys of A Connected TV/Cross-Device World
For brands wondering just what an integration between connected TV and their existing cross-device graphs would mean for them, here is a list of the top four benefits associated with combining connected TV with a comprehensive cross-device solution:
- Greater visibility: With the newfound ability to analyze data across devices, marketers are able to gain greater insight into each and every step of the customer journey.
- Razor-sharp targeting: Brands will be able to target highly specific consumer segments by using advanced customer data collected across devices. Today’s most sophisticated technology partners are able to use first- and third-party data to enhance an advertiser’s targeting across CTV based on the way their graphs are structured. This allows advertisers to focus on the entire household, rather than just on individuals.
- Better performance: Due to hypertargeted advertising that targets individuals rather than devices, marketers will experience improved campaign performance.
- Increased ROI: More precise targeting and more effective campaigns will also impact the bottom line for advertisers. Brands can expect to see higher profits once they add connected TV to their cross-device strategies.
Cross-device and connected TV will face challenges and will have to work out a number of kinks over time as the integration evolves. Marketers have yet to find solutions to ongoing issues such as exact attribution and measurement.
But cross-device strategy is no longer a luxury. It has become a necessity for brands eager to understand and target their ideal audiences. And as more consumers divide their attention across various forms of media, marketers need to bring newly addressable devices into the fold—or risk making decisions based on an incomplete and potentially inaccurate understanding of their audience.