- The growth of digital TV offers the promise of reinventing advertising by personalizing it to the viewer.
- But addressable or dynamic advertising hasn’t taken off because approaches are fragmented and marketers aren’t equipped to do it or don’t see the value.
- One buyer called addressable advertising “a little bit of Wild West.”
At a Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement summit Thursday, ad buyers, sellers, and measurement wonks found common ground on one thing: The industry is far from achieving its goal of modernizing the way TV advertising is bought and sold.
Take targeted TV advertising. It’s been talked about for 25 years but it’s still a minority of TV ad spending, with no universal agreement on things like how to count audiences and collect the data, said David Cohen, Magna’s president of North America.
“Why hasn’t it taken off?" Cohen said. "Because it’s complicated, it’s complex, everyone does it differently. It’s a little bit of Wild West.”
Turner, Fox, Viacom, and NBCUniversal belong to an industry consortium called Open A.P. that pools networks’ data to help marketers match networks and time slots to audiences. The networks are pushing to change how they sell ads to buyers, but the process is slow, with only about 5% of advertisers’ spend going toward audience-based buying.
Open A.P. is a great start but linear TV is at an advantage because it’s still so efficient to buy, Cohen said. It doesn’t require the hand-crafted approach that addressable does.
Another factor holding back addressable TV is that the TV companies don’t make their national linear inventory available to be sold that way to protect that still-lucrative core business. Essentially no linear TV advertising is available as addressable, which "doesn’t help,” one measurement-side attendee grumbled.
Then there’s the issue that for a mass marketer like Unilever, getting super-targeted doesn’t make sense, said Rob Master, VP of media and public relations for Unilever, The Americas.
“I understand banks, autos are more interested in paying for that precision, but where does that leave players like us?” he said. “You need the ability to tell your story to someone much more broadly. The economic models are the big challenges to addressability, because it leaves mass advertisers out.”
For all the talk about robots taking over advertising, most marketers don’t have the creative needed to do addressable TV.
“We talk about the opportunity to get very, very precise, but if you have two pieces of creative, it defeats the purpose,” Cohen said. “We need to step up the intensity of those conversations as well.”
Addressable ads have a creepiness problem
That particular issue could be solved by targeting clusters rather than individuals — which also solves targeted advertising’s privacy problem.
“I generally don’t mind some gender-based marketing, but when it becomes much more targeted, it becomes creepy,” said Radha Subramanyam, chief research and analytics officer at CBS Television Network.
“Personalization and privacy are at odds with each other,” said Claudio Marcus, GM of data platform at FreeWheel, Comcast’s OTT ad serving unit. “But we can drive lot of value without having to get to the point where we’re burning bridges with consumers. Just because we can measure at the most granular level possible doesn’t mean we need to execute on it.”
Considering how slow things change in TV, it’s not surprising that innovations like addressable TV haven’t taken off.
TV has been measured the same way for 12 years, but it’s too expensive for the measurement giants Nielsen and Comscore to invest in a new system that won’t last, said Ed Gaffney, director of implementation research at GroupM.
“It was never meant to be 12 years old," he said. "It was meant to die. But we haven’t come up with anything better.”
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Source: Business Insider