At a time when some marketers are grappling with the very concept of addressable TV, others are using it to selectively segment viewing audiences, sometimes even within the same household. It may sound like science fiction to have several members of a family watch the same show, but see different advertisements on different devices. For Cathy Taylor, US Commissioning Editor at WARC, it’s a reality that resonates with her company’s mission to save the world from ineffective marketing.

A frequent speaker at marketing industry events, Taylor joined ITWC CMO Fawn Annan for a September 2021 installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series designed by ITWC to showcase strategies for gaining a competitive edge through the intersection of marketing and technology. Their 30-minute discussion focused on the growing prominence of addressable TV and its attractiveness for a breadth of buyers in the TV advertising marketplace.

Opening the conversation with a crash course on addressable TV, Taylor described it as falling under ‘addressable advertising’, an umbrella term that includes OTT (over-the-top) which, in this context, refers to video services that can be streamed over the Internet, and CTV (connected TV), which applies to devices, such as Smart TVs or xBoxes, used to stream video content. “Think of it as the targeting of digital brought to video in all its forms,” she explained.

When asked by Annan why marketers would use addressable TV, Taylor cited several compelling reasons in addition to enhanced targeting.

Cathy Taylor, US Commissioning Editor at WARC

Referencing a recent study, she pointed to a 35 per cent increase in attentiveness to the screen when addressable ads are on TV and a 50 per cent decrease in channel switching when they were in the first three positions within the commercial break. “A lot of viewership is no longer happening in traditional ways, ” she said, “so marketers need to follow the eyeballs.”

As to the question of how advertisers should approach addressable TV, Taylor advised marketers of all sizes to get out there and experiment. She also encouraged them to start small and use optimization capabilities to decide how to proceed from there. Her third piece of advice was to remember to stay creative. “An ad doesn’t work only because it benefits from better targeting,” she said. “Addressable ads can be optimized over time, just like digital ads can be, so you should rise to meet the creative and planning opportunities that optimization can bring.”

 

Looking ahead, Taylor sees continued growth for addressable advertising and great benefit in first-party data. “There is no way that this is a fad,” she said. “Marketers are looking for more flexibility in terms of targeting and a lot of the popular platforms are perfect for addressable TV.”

The platforms may be perfect, but Taylor said there is still work to be done in terms of making this easier for advertisers, particularly as it applies to commingling datasets and standards. And even though scale is improving, she said there are still challenges in transforming TV advertising and making it more relevant. Still, she believes that fragmented viewing patterns require advertisers to go where the viewers are. “I’ve painted a picture of an incredibly complex market, but don’t let that scare you off,” she said. “This is where the future is headed so get on the train now.”

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