It’s that time of year again.
Time for another TV[R]EV Special Report.
This one’s on Addressable TV Advertising and we are excited to finally share it with you.
The Addressable Landscape
A few months back when we set out to do this report, we realized that step one was to actually define “addressable TV advertising” since, as we’d learned, few terms in this industry actually have anything close to a universally agreed upon definition. (Hence the constant confusion.)
The definition we wound up with is a broad one: any ad unit served to a specific targeted audience rather than all viewers of a particular show.
It’s a definition that includes both time-shifted and linear addressable, along with all the various flavors of targeting, and it allowed us to take the broadest view possible as we examined where the addressable TV market was at today.
So what did we learn?
The most consistent insight is that addressable TV advertising is confusing AF.
As in while many people we spoke with may have a strong understanding of their particular corner of the addressable world, only a teeny-tiny handful felt they had a grasp on the entire ecosystem.
Much of the confusion was around the mechanics of it: how is addressable bought and sold, how do you determine which audience members you’re actually buying and then how do you determine if you’ve actually reached the people you’ve paid for?
Then there’s what you might call the “philosophical” side of it—why would a brand actually want to run addressable ads? What purpose does it serve in terms of meeting marketing goals and what sorts of KPIs should be used to measure it?
Surprisingly, one thing there was not a lot of debate about is the (occasionally begrudging) acceptance that addressable advertising is TV’s future. How much of its future though, is open for debate.
Some people felt that addressable would play a small but important role, but that traditional ad buys would still be the norm, especially for prime time. Others felt there would be no such thing as “prime time” and that all advertising would be sold on an addressable basis.
And every variation in between.
We learned that the latter group feels that a key use case for addressable will be frequency capping. That in a world where so much TV is viewed on a time-shifted basis, brands will need to ensure that the same person who just saw their ad ten times because they were binge watching shows on various streaming platforms doesn’t see it another ten times on linear.
And that allowing every ad to be served up on an addressable basis and tracking how and when the viewer saw the ads is the way to assure that. (Getting all the various players to consent to something like that is, of course, another story.)
Speaking of linear, we did a deep dive into how addressable ad overlays on smart TVs are making addressable advertising happen for networks on linear, thanks to solutions from Project OAR and Nielsen. We looked at the tech behind how those overlays and the business reasons why so many people are excited about it.
Finally, we made some predictions about what the future might hold.
Given that seven multibillion dollar streaming services will be up and running this year (“The Flixcopalypse”), television—everything from how we watch it to how advertisers buy it—is about to change pretty dramatically. So we looked at what you can expect in the years to come, what changes you need to prepare for and what potential developments to keep an eye on.
How We Work
Like all our reports, this one is based on off-the-record interviews Mike Shields and I did with over 100 top executives across brands, networks, platforms, MVPDs, measurement companies and adtech companies. That means they’re able to tell us what’s really going on, what keeps them up at night, what they think they’ve got figured out and what they wish the industry knew more about.
We also spoke with our sponsors: Cadent, Inscape, Nielsen, Project OAR and SpotX, and their experts, which is why you’ll find Revisionist interviews with key figures from each sponsor in the report to give you a window into what matters to the people who are making addressable happen.
Small caveat: this is not a quick read—it weighs in at 49 pages—but we promise it will be an enjoyable one, written in the relaxed conversational style that reflects our strongly held belief that just because people are reading about business doesn’t mean they want to be bored.
It’s a great way to fill in some time over the holidays—makes a great last minute gift too—and you can get yours here right now.