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The State of TV Advertising: Today and Beyond [Q&A] with Brad Danaher

Brad Danaher on TV advertisingTV has evolved drastically over the past decade, especially in just the past few years. We’ve witnessed a transformation from people watching their favorite shows in front of a television set, to individuals streaming movies and other video content on mobile devices. It’s gone from an experience shared by family members in the living room, to one that could be had almost anywhere in the world, at any time. But while the evolution of TV has made it more convenient and easier to watch what you want, whenever you want to, it’s created challenges for advertisers hoping to better connect with people.

As brands look to adapt to the new TV landscape, we sat down with Brad Danaher, our Director of TV Solutions, to discuss how advertisers can maximize TV ad spend, assess ad strategies, deliver relevant content and what can be expected in the future.

Q: How do brands keep up with the shifting behavior of consumers as it relates to TV?

BD: The growing popularity of on-demand video, as well as streaming devices has completely changed the way brands should think about advertising campaigns. In the past, it was possible for brands to succeed with a siloed and generic approach focused on reach and any targeting was simply contextual – a process of deciding which programming should be in the media plan. Campaigns based primarily on traditional TV ratings are rapidly becoming an outdated approach. Brand advertisers need to maximize online and offline data assets to more accurately and confidently identify and build audience segments. This means cultivating data assets they already own and looking for others that they can “rent” on a campaign basis, as needed, from companies like Experian. The shift in TV viewing has been towards mobile consumption – which means cross-channel campaigns are more important than ever. Traditional TV can’t be the end all, be all. It needs to work within the context of a larger advertising campaign.

Q: How do advertisers adapt to the new normal?               

BD: The approach is simple: adopt a digital mindset, which starts with proper identity resolution.

Advertisers need to leverage a combination of first- and third-party data to get a full understanding of an individual. First-party data alone only paints a portion of the picture. That said, keep in mind that not all data is created equal. It’s recommended that advertisers work with providers that have a strong track record in data management. And when identities are resolved, it can help brands make the right marketing decisions and better connect with people.

In addition, like a digital advertiser – test and learn. Understand that you can learn from each campaign to make the next one more optimized. Measure each campaign and apply those learnings to the next campaign. Measurement of advanced TV allows for that insight like never before.

Q: As TV continues to advance, are linear campaigns still viable options for advertisers?

BD: Despite the trends toward more advanced TV campaigns, linear TV still holds strong value in the market. It comes down to the intended audience for any given product. For example, items such as toilet paper, toothpaste and facial tissues are designed for a mass audience. But for products that are slightly more granular, yet don’t meet standards for addressable TV, there are optimized linear options. Using advanced data assets, you can do more detailed linear TV planning to find the programming that best fits your target audience. Most TV networks and OTT sellers are equipped to provide deeper insights into their audiences than ever before. Advertisers can go beyond viewership metrics and look at demographic, psychographic and transactional attributes. These data sets were not connected to TV viewing data five years ago, but now they make linear campaigns more effective.

Q: How will TV advertising evolve over the next five years?

BD: Much of the evolution will be driven by the “next” technological disruptor for the industry. But undoubtedly, data will continue to have tremendous impact on how brands connect with people, regardless of how technology shifts. TV advertising will become more relevant and more measurable. In addition, digital advertising and TV advertising teams will come together to be more unified in their planning approaches as the various datasets used by both teams is better understood and applied.

The consumer needs to be at the heart of every advertising decision, and data is integral to this approach. It comes down to properly identifying audiences and delivering content that resonates with people.