DRTV: Microtargeted TV

Household-level addressable television is emerging as a direct marketing channel through digital cable and satellite

The most effective marketing delivery channels today are powered by real addressable targeting and measurement. Marketers using direct mail, telemarketing, email and online display ads are realizing improved campaign results as they put the customer and deep data at the center of their efforts. It’s time to consider including addressable television in that list of individually targetable marketing channels.

Traditionally, all households watching the same TV program in the same region would see the same ads as their neighbors—the advertising was targeted by context, not household. Like direct mail, addressable TV advertising allows different households to receive different TV ads based on the attributes of that household.

Early tests of the effectiveness of addressable TV were very positive. A 2008 experiment by Comcast and Starcom Mediavest Group, for example, found addressable TV advertising was 56 percent more efficient and 38 percent more effective than mass TV advertising. The technique increased the effectiveness of those ads, reduced tune-away significantly and was considered highly successful.

Although the TV industry could see the potential of addressable advertising, it struggled to create the standard processes and platforms necessary to make it work at scale, in part due to the limitations of existing technology, available inventory and the sales process. As a result, the promise of addressable TV advertising remained in a “beta” state for years and some felt it might never arrive.

Prime Targets
Household-level addressability is actually available today in TV advertising. While some cable providers are currently offering true addressable television targeting at the household level, it is limited to their specific geographies. However, national scale is available today via the satellite operators, where they have an existing national addressable footprint, and more advertisers are beginning to adopt the new capabilities as the channel evolves.

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