In a recent report, Kantar – the marketing data and analytics company specialising in media – said that, despite TV becoming more digital and IP-based, progress towards true addressability has been slow “compared with hopes and predictions [of] a decade ago”. Manish Bhatia, Global Chief Product Officer, Media at Kantar, Kantar believes this is due to the fact that – unlike advertising on the internet – TV has been a ‘linear’ medium and has systems for planning, distributing, and delivering ads based on linear TV.
He said: “TV has traditionally been based around linear TV advertising. So now if you bring in the technical capability to be able to address ads to different people at different times, then the whole ecosystem around planning, buying, optimisation, execution, and distribution of advertising has to be operated to be able to do that. And that takes time.
“That is what the evolution that is happening on the TV side is. People have started to experiment with addressable on TV, leveraging the experiences they’ve had with addressable on digital, but it will take a while for the majority – or the entirety – of the TV ecosystem to get addressable ads even when the technical capability to deliver addressable ads continues to expand.”
The Kantar report argues that Smart TVs can move addressable advertising forward significantly. It makes the case that by moving addressable up the delivery chain into the screen which actually delivers the content, its simplifies and standardises how ads are delivered.
Manish elaborates on this point: “To deliver addressable ads the system has to go all the way back to wherever the ad server is to pull the ad and bring it back, but keeping it closer to the user experience is probably the more efficient way.”
He argues that greater collaboration between advertisers, Smart TV companies and measurement companies is needed to fully realise the promise of addressability. Advertisers want to know how their ads are performing in terms of reach and viewer attitudes, and eventually, willingness to buy the product. To determine pricing, advertisers also need a strong sense of the effectiveness and efficiency of addressable compared to conventional ad spots on linear.
He continues: “They also want to know ‘if I reach people in a linear environment do I want to reach them again on addressable? Am I reaching the same people or different people?’ So you end up with different data sets. Advertisers may have their own, Smart TV companies may have their own, and third-party companies like Kantar has its data set. For advertisers to get a full view on who is being reached by their ads across the platforms, the various datasets need to be integrated and combined with linear TV data sets.
There has to be a high degree of collaboration between the three, with sharing of insights, assets and learning. That’s the collaboration we’re talking about because data is available and sits around the ecosystem with different players, both on the buy side and sell side.”
Manish outlines how the evolution of TV has made it more difficult to measure unduplicated reach, and can therefore result in viewers experiencing excessive exposure to the same ads.
He says: “Linear TV is a bit easier as it’s a single harmonised ecosystem. You can see if you advertise ‘here’ and advertise ‘there’ what the unduplicated reach is and the frequency of exposure. When you start dealing with three or four different walled gardens, while you can reach viewers in a very targeted manner, you need to keep track of who you are reaching, whether you have reached them before, where else can you reach them, and what is the most operational way for you to deliver your advertising messages.”
The Kantar report argues that router meter solutions for measurement is imperative to track new forms of ad activity, and that panel-based measurement in particular enables the “the required data exchanges and data ingestion to capture advertising exposures” across audience segments. Router meters are installed in panelists’ households and work together to provide a complete picture of content consumption in a home, according to the company.
With regards to measurement, Manish notes two salient questions: ‘who is watching?’ and ‘what is being watched?’ While the latter question can be addressed with automated content recognition (ACR) data from Smart TVs (which takes content fingerprints and matches them against reference libraries), the former is complicated by the fact that TVs are multi-user devices.
He says: “When a house has three different members you might have three people watching at different times and watching different shows. To attribute viewing accurately, even if it’s just one person watching, you need to know who that person is. It gets even more complicated when you have more than one person watching TV, which of course happens a lot.”
Manish advocates for a panel-based solution to measurement and an integration with larger viewing datasets to provide a complete and accurate view of viewing. Viewers join Kantar’s panel and give permission to the data and analytics company to track their viewing, with panelists reporting proactively on when they are watching TV.