Data is changing network TV advertising sales in ways that rival previous industry shifts. Cross-platform advertising and audience measurement, advanced audience selling capabilities, and new campaign creative informed by big data insights are driving this change.
The result? More opportunities to increase monetization of ad inventory, including working with advertisers and agencies to differentiate cross-platform campaigns, establishing a cohesive premium programmatic strategy, and developing original branded content tailored to resonate with target audience segments.
Although consumer viewing is fragmenting across traditional, online, mobile, and third-party properties, sophisticated analytical techniques are enabling networks to understand audience behavior across these platforms. This is helping to optimize messaging and craft tailored campaigns in both the direct guaranteed market and the digital programmatic space.
For example, CBS and Nielsen announced in January that they would jointly develop behavioral and attitudinal segmentations based on cross-platform viewership data and purchasing information. Advertisers are rapidly taking advantage of these analyses to enhance their reach to desired audiences and increase the frequency of relevant impressions as consumers move between linear and digital-centric platforms.
Using real-time analytics, TV networks are also building premium programmatic capabilities to increase the value of their digital inventory, improve advertisers' engagement with their desired audiences, and realize transactional efficiencies. These capabilities include automated platforms, guaranteed minimum impressions, and exchanges. For example, earlier this year, ABC announced a partnership with FreeWheel to reserve premium digital inventory.
Finally, big data, specifically behavioral, contextual, and geo-location data generated through online and mobile interactions, is uncovering audience insights that can augment traditional demographic metrics. Big data insights may help marketers reach audiences in desired segments.
Networks are also integrating traditional metrics with big data sets to offer advertisers the ability to overlay specific passion segments and improve ad effectiveness. Increasingly, advertisers are using these insights to position their brands and optimize their creative to different users. These users can be more receptive to an advertiser's messages than the broader demographic group to which they belong.
By taking advantage of these trends in data analytics, networks can enhance their relationship with advertisers, driving engagement, conversion, and inventory value. Based on our work, we recommend considering several related strategies:
1. Enhance the use of audience-level insights in combination with standard demographic metrics to help advertisers create, differentiate, and manage cross-platform ad campaigns. Campaigns that are able to address passion segments across platforms will drive inventory value to the TV network both on digital and through the direct guaranteed market.
2. Assess objectives when building programmatic capabilities to develop a cohesive and tailored strategy across platforms. Networks may have different objectives, such as automating purchasing to facilitate transactions, growing premium programmatic across digital platforms, increasing addressable inventory, and driving inventory value.
3. Consider integrating proprietary data with second party / data partner and third party / offline data to develop tailored, branded content for specific audience segments that advertisers wish to reach. Observing how uniquely positioned creative keeps audiences engaged for longer periods, advertisers have created a variety of original branded content and integrated their creative with recorded and live shows. For example, Purina recently partnered with Collective Digital Studio to create branded content for its YouTube channel. The brand has leveraged insights from successful online ad campaigns to develop video content likely to go viral among millennial pet-owners.
There are prime opportunities and the best path forward for individual TV networks is hiding in the data. Understand your audiences and you'll serve them better than ever, while getting maximum monetization out of your content.
Stephen Saper is a Principal and Sri Narasimhan is a Consulting Manager with IBB Consulting, which helps lead growth strategies for content owners, service providers and device manufacturers.