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Using big data to succeed in TV

Justin Evans, Global Head of Analytics & Insight, Samsung Ads
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The TV industry is experiencing unprecedented change as audiences rapidly adopt streaming. Two in five global consumers own a connected TV, and Internet-enabled TV is becoming the norm across many households. Virtually every company touching the TV ecosystem – from broadcasters, to VOD publishers, to advertisers – is looking to adapt to the changes technology is bringing to the TV landscape and to embrace new opportunities brought on by the growth of streaming.

In an environment like this where new viewership trends are constantly emerging, data is crucial to guide decision-making.

The good news is that our data is evolving too.

The industry should continue to rely on nationally projected data to understand TV viewing. Projected data is based on a sample, which is then modelled to represent a population using sophisticated statistical techniques. It is powerful because it is stable – it is managed to show consistency over time – and it is designed to be comprehensive: its final projection represents all TV viewing and demographic groups. Nationally projected data is essential to provide a common view of the TV landscape. Planners need it to understand what programmes their audiences watch, and to manage linear reach and frequency. Buyers and sellers need it to trade, and measure, campaigns.

The data we use to help clients at Samsung Ads is “big data” – a term coined to mean an extremely large data set that can be mined for insights. For us, that means we use viewing data on an opt-in basis from our millions of Smart TVs in a way that is deterministic, not projected or modelled, and comprises only actual viewing.

Big data is a new tool that is additive to the TV ecosystem. It has the unique ability to show the interplay of TV viewing across both linear and streaming formats – since both behaviours are happening on the same device. At Samsung we use the data to help clients identify groups of viewers they wish to reach based on their actual behaviours across linear and streaming TV, even if those behaviours are changing quickly. Then the client uses an addressable, or targeted, campaign to reach the right audience with minimal waste. The combination of big data and addressability create a powerful tool for exactly this moment in television.

So how can the players in the TV landscape use “big data” to adapt to the rapid change in audience preferences? The opportunities vary.

The benefit for broadcasters

British broadcasters have assertively moved into streaming, yet must continue to attract audiences to their linear programming.

One such way is to use TV viewing data to identify audiences with a preference for a particular show or genre, and then to serve addressable advertising to that audience to promote a programme. We are seeing many of the major networks in the U.S. embrace this strategy. In 2020 alone Samsung Ads data was used to drive 8 million incremental viewers to promoted programmes for TV networks in the U.S., with a 19% lift compared to unexposed in-target audiences.

Broadcasters use the data to pick apart their results and choose the promotion duration, creative and tactic that attracts the most viewers.

Vying VOD publishers

Competition for viewers is fierce within the streaming environment – and VOD publishers like Amazon Prime and Disney+ and more are trying to find new ways to attract viewers. Millions of pounds are being spent to build a subscriber base in one of the most dynamic and competitive markets for audiences in recent memory.

When looking to bring viewers into a VOD app, TV viewing data can help identify the audiences who would enjoy the app’s content, and to serve addressable campaigns to those audiences, building viewers even in a competitive environment. Crucially, the data can be used to keep those visitors coming back, too. Viewing data can help VOD publishers find and communicate with their light or lapsed viewers.

Maximising advertiser promotions

For other advertisers – such as automotive, financial, FMCG brands and more – the change in TV viewing is significant, affecting how well their overall TV budgets may perform. Linear TV campaigns are a powerful driver of both reach and results. Rich data about the millions of Samsung UK devices that qualify as “light linears” can help brands to reach those viewers who spend more time in streaming environments – providing incremental reach to an audience that previously may have been missed out.

Understanding campaign success rate is a crucial benefit of big data. All three groups – brands, broadcasters and VOD publishers – can use big data about viewing to measure their advertising, and understand how successful they are at reaching and having an impact on their audience.

In a rapidly-evolving TV environment, everyone in the ecosystem needs new tools to help guide them through the changing terrain. The right data can mean the difference between good results and great results with TV.

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