For decades, TV advertising time has been valued and transacted on the basis of delivering the standard age and gender audience segments, such as adults ages 25 to 54. But richer, more descriptive advanced targets are emerging to form the basis for secondary audience guarantees, supplementing the primary benchmarks.
Advanced targets are created by combining first- or third-party consumer purchase data with TV viewing information, resulting in TV ratings that better reflect advertisers’ targets as opposed to the standard age and gender descriptions.
In the 2017–2018 TV season, secondary guarantees made on advanced target delivery could account for as much as 10% to 15% of the inventory sold by those network groups that are leaders in data-driven targeting.
The variety of advanced TV offerings introduces new complexity to the marketplace. Differences in the data sources used to create these targets make it difficult for media agencies to evaluate offerings vs. their own in-house TV investment models. Third-party verification of network-produced advanced TV ratings will be inevitable as advanced targeting scales.
Advanced TV offerings will eventually include targeting capabilities across both TV and digital—which currently make up more than 70% of spend for a typical media plan. TV and digital targeting is a longer-term prospect, given the networks’ primary focus on selling just TV inventory. The undertaking also requires integration of TV and digital audience estimates within a closed system.
TV networks have begun to work more directly with advertisers, many of whom are providing networks with first-party customer and transaction data to develop more precise TV targeting and gauge ad effectiveness on network properties.