How the events of 2020 provided a catalyst for TV’s evolution

Praful Desai writes about the evolution of the TV industry and its potential for creating an engaging consumer journey in a privacy-conscious environment. 

In recent years, the TV industry has spent a lot of time and energy on developing its targeting and measurement capabilities to achieve the ultimate combination of reaching and engaging with the right audience, at the right time and in the right moment.

But in 2020, this evolution truly entered the spotlight, accelerated by global events that provided a unique catalyst for advancing cross-platform TV’s offering.

Although viewing patterns have been fragmenting for some time, the pandemic spurred audiences to consume a vast amount of streaming content. Advertisers demanded of media companies better, more flexible and timely ways to reach and engage viewers across times, devices and platforms. 

This dramatic shift in consumption was also coupled with an increased focus on data privacy, which became a top priority following ongoing regulation updates and Google’s plans to retire third-party cookies. Although cookies play no part in TV advertising, it is still the mechanism on which the broader digital advertising industry relies, and the cookie deprecation has driven a desire for highly effective, privacy-first targeting and measurement capabilities that can deliver across platforms.

In light of these recent events, a new era of TV has arrived and it is angled as a trusted, impactful channel to connect with consumers.

Boosting the potential of linear and digital

The market for streaming services has become fiercely competitive, driven by Australian consumers’ appetite for on-demand, quality content. Research shows that more than 82 percent of viewers watch streaming services, representing a 16.2 percent increase between 2019 and 2020. The global pandemic has been a key factor behind current viewing habits, but the overall shift away from legacy TV has been unfolding for years – and will no doubt continue, even as audience behaviors readjust. 

As a result, TV is now consumed across a diverse array of platforms and devices, while TV targeting and measurement capabilities are evolving for the better. For instance, by building cross-platform identity resolution without third-party data, impression-based TV measurement can now be deployed at scale, bringing TV up to speed with its digital counterpart. Being innately privacy-centric, TV offers a valuable means to engage consumers in a landscape focused on trust and compliance. 

TV is leading the charge toward privacy-first marketing

The biggest driver behind consumer privacy initiatives is Google’s pivot away from third-party cookies. With Google being the most-visited website in Australia, this move will significantly impact methods for digital targeting and measurement outside of its walled garden. Having always operated without cookies, the TV ad industry can lead the way when it comes to redefining measurement models. Current cross-platform capabilities have united the best of linear and digital, supporting both traditional marketers and digital-first brands – such as direct-to-consumer businesses – in their privacy-first journeys. 

For the TV and connected TV (CTV)/BVOD sectors, the tech giants’ tightened cookie restrictions don’t represent a step backward – but prioritising privacy is a strong step forward for the advertising industry as a whole. First-party data owners are seizing the opportunity to monetise their assets, while other players are exploring household-level identifiers to support contextual strategies. For brands and agencies, applying the eclectic mix of new advertising solutions across their portfolios will be a challenge. 

Collaboration is key at this juncture. By educating audiences, the industry can build a seamless, consumer-centric approach to marketing. Finding cohesive and effective identity solutions will help brands get closer to their customers while respecting their privacy. As a cookie-free industry, TV is one example of how marketers can take steps to achieve this. 

The future of cross-platform TV measurement

Marketers’ primary objective is to build a holistic view of campaign outcomes. As every brand has specific marketing goals, evaluating success requires a unique set of metrics. To ensure adaptability, marketers need a scalable solution that details reach, reach extension, frequency, audience and outcomes. With insights that go deeper than basic demographic information such as age and gender, marketers are able to make real-time optimisations to TV advertising efforts. One-to-one deterministic matching is essential for activating audiences at scale and supporting precise ad targeting. 

But implementing this in a privacy-first landscape requires always-on analytics, combining audience response with census-level media exposure data. Marketers can then directly link business outcomes to their ad spend, creating impactful and efficient strategies. Additionally, TV marketers can develop a clearer understanding of the consumer experience, which allows them to use frequency capping and ad suppression, as well as pinpoint which ad placements are boosting return on investment. 

These capabilities simultaneously protect viewers’ rights to data privacy and create a frictionless, engaging consumer journey. 

Effective solutions for TV targeting and measurement are rapidly gaining traction. Innovation across the TV ecosystem is empowering marketers to connect with the right audiences, at the optimal time and on the best platforms to strengthen campaign outcomes. Privacy-conscious solutions and placing consumer needs at the center of their marketing strategies will be the top priority for marketers moving forward.

 

Praful Desai is the business development director, Australia, at TVSquared.

Photo by Murai .hr on Unsplash.