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Why Household Level Purchase Behavior is Important for TV Campaigns

Guest Author: Matt Frattaroli, VP of Digital Platform and Agency Partnerships, Alliant

With spend projected to surpass $84B across traditional linear, Addressable linear TV, and Connected TV (CTV) in 2022 (Winterberry Group, annual outlook report), advertisers are beginning to align budgets with the accelerated shifts in viewer behaviors we’ve seen in recent years. In fact, Addressable TV and CTV are expected to see the largest increases, at 27% and 32% respectively, compared to only a 3.5% increase for linear tv. This is largely due to the “video everywhere” trend which also includes double-digit growth projections in digital video spend.

Beyond the draw of increased viewership, dollars are flowing into TV because of newfound abilities to go beyond demographic segmentation and leverage the power of audience targeting that has been available for digital campaigns. For marketers accustomed to building data-driven digital campaigns, there are some important differences (read: benefits) that are introduced when moving to the biggest screen in people’s homes. Understanding the power of purchase data specifically will help capitalize on these differences, but first, let’s start with a quick discussion on household-level targeting.

Digital channels are praised in media because of the ability to personalize messaging on a one-to-one level. Marketers are attracted to this precision, and it can be natural to question the efficacy of household-level TV audiences when compared to individual targeting using identifiers like Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs).

The assumption many marketers make is that all desktop and mobile targeting is at the individual level and that precision gets lost when applying targeting to TV – that is not the case. While most digital targeting is based on an identifier like a cookie or MAID, the data used to match that device is often not at the individual level. And even in cases where data is at the individual level, fuzzy matching logic may have been used to get there, introducing the potential for inaccurate targeting.

TV audience data on the other hand, such as Alliant’s matched audience segments available through Cadent Aperture Viewer Graph, represents household data that has been deterministically synced to a household. So, while not at an individual level, identity has been deterministically managed during both the audience development and onboarding steps, providing more transparency and accuracy than attempting to match consumers at a one-to-one level with cookies or MAIDs.  

With many other obscured data practices in the supply chain, we encourage data strategists and buyers to ask about data collection levels, followed by an assessment on how it relates to the activation level and their use cases. You want to ensure that the granularity of the source data always matches the activation level.

Now, let’s revisit the tendency to question why it can be beneficial to target at the household level, even cookies or MAIDs are available. In a digital environment, many brands or campaigns would benefit from messaging at the household rather than individual level. Verticals such as travel, CPG, entertainment, retail, and auto can all drive business outcomes from the collective household. This is especially true when you consider that TV is often a shared viewing experience.

Demographic data has long served as the backbone of TV campaigns, but platforms like Aperture are opening new opportunities for advertisers to be smarter with their approach to targeting. And while there are many data sets that can drive successful outcomes for TV advertisers, we believe purchase data is one of the most powerful audience solutions for any vertical or category. For example, other types of data like social or location data can provide behavioral insights but may signal more aspirational traits – someone who engages with a variety of tech brands online is not necessarily primed to buy from one of those brands. Purchase data on the other hand shows that someone has demonstrated they have bought from a tech brand and may be willing to buy again.

Ultimately, there are countless ways that purchase data can be used to build more effective TV advertising campaigns. To help you get started, here are 3 quick ideas on how purchase data can reshape your TV advertising strategies:

Change the way you think about TV campaigns:

The biggest screen remains a powerful brand awareness tool, but with the addition of purchase-based audience data, advertisers can create more cohesive performance-driven campaigns. Using optimized data at the start of a campaign will minimize wasted impressions by finding those most likely to buy, and then allow for the measurement of those impressions against both upper-funnel and lower-funnel KPIs.

Influence creative strategies:

With precision in mind, you can start to think about how different creative messaging can be used throughout your TV advertising campaign. A better understanding of brand preference across the household can lead to different copy or product recommendations, driving better consumer response.

Introduce predictive models:

Deterministic purchase data is an impressive tool on its own but combined with predictive modeling advertisers can extend reach and identify other highly qualified prospective customers. An added benefit is that these models will factor in a multitude of purchase behaviors and other characteristics, removing presumptions about customers’ interests or purchase intent.

Interested in learning more? The Alliant and Cadent teams are available to provide recommendations to help you implement successful tests and learn data strategies.

How Marketers Will Reach Their Audiences Amid Marketplace Challenges

Television remains the most effective way to deeply engage viewers. Yet it’s never been more difficult for brands to reach their audiences cost-effectively. In the past three years, average cable TV ratings have declined 24%*, and average CPMs have risen over 31%.**

The TV industry is facing challenges on multiple fronts, including inflationary pricing, audience fragmentation, procurement difficulties and increased ratings pressures. It’s harder than ever for advertisers to reach their audience effectively.

Taking a closer look at declining ratings, we found the following in a study of the ad-supported and measured cable networks we work with:

  • In the 18-49 demo, 14% of 88 the networks showed viewership stability or growth in 2018 vs. 2017. Eighty-six percent of networks showed a decline in impressions, and 57% of our available 2018 cable inventory was down double digits over 2017.
  • Among adults 25-54, 24% showed viewership stability or growth in 2018 vs. 2017, and 76% of the networks we measured faced impressions declines. Of the declining networks, 40 were down double-digits in delivery – thus, 45% of our available 2018 cable inventory was down double digits over the previous year for the 25-54 age demo.

This is where Cadent comes in – choosing an alternative to the traditional Upfront model can return negotiation power back to marketers and agencies. Below, Cadent Sales President Jim Tricarico spoke with MediaVillage’s Simon Applebaum about easing marketplace challenges during and after the Upfront season and why he’s encouraging marketers and agencies to be strategic, not reactive, as they consider their media plans.

For more on how to rethink your media plan this Upfront season (and beyond), check out our Rethink Calculator

This article originally appeared in MediaVillage

Back in the first two decades of television’s existence (the late 1940s to the late 1960s) cigarette makers were among the top advertisers, with one sponsor offering this tag line: “It’s what’s up front that counts.” For Cadent President of Sales Jim Tricarico, what counts most for this Upfront season is maximizing viewership of messages for a wider variety of advertisers. That effort comes amid mounting challenges, though, including rating declines for many broadcast and cable TV networks, cutbacks in some network ad minutes and pods (especially in primetime) and growing audiences for content distributed through smart TV sets and TV-connected devices.

“It’s a freight train coming right by every client and ad agency,” Tricarico says. “Trying to maneuver in this environment is very hard.” That’s prompting Cadent to position its appeal for national 2019 Upfront advertising dollars as a natural complement to current strategies among individual agencies and brands, rather than as rivals. “What we are is a solution,” he explains. “We don’t say we’re better than or instead of [networks]. We try to help these [advertisers] manage through whatever networks and dayparts they need help on by getting access to deliver these networks or dayparts at a significant savings versus the networks’ direct pricing.”

With support from 200 multichannel video providers, Cadent transmits commercials from national advertisers inside the two or three minutes per hour many basic cable networks set aside for local sales. Cadent also delivers addressable messages on IP, linear and video-on-demand inventory.

Cadent works with 42% of the Ad Age top 100 brands. For this blue-chip roster, “the secret sauce is in our reach across all these MVPDs,” Tricarico points out. “Why is that important? Marketers require access to a truly national audience in order to reach their customers.”

Another part of Cadent’s 2019 Upfront message urges advertisers and agencies to rethink their media plan and be strategic, not reactive. With added pressure to reach GRP goals in a marketplace with constrained inventory, marketers can complement network direct buys with data-driven, efficient linear TV, reaching GRP goals for less.Then, Tricarico says, marketers can allocate savings toward addressable advertising, a medium capable of providing the premium reach and high-value audiences marketers require to move the needle for their businesses.

“You can’t talk about the Upfront if you’re not talking about the evolution of addressable, and how that is a part of every advertiser’s strategy as they enter 2019 to 2020 and beyond,” Tricarico adds.

This Upfront season, Tricarico wants to distinguish the difference between unsold and remnant inventory. Some companies are easily turned off by the word “remnant,” which carries an assumption of being lower-quality inventory airing during early morning, overnight or on less desirable networks. “We counter the negativity by showing how unsold inventory can be premium inventory,” he explains. The counter: Cadent’s unsold data-driven linear inventory comes from every major network and airs alongside premium content, leveraging historical data and forecasting to know what will be available.

Cadent’s current appeal is also directed at the variety of new advertisers hitting the TV scene this year, from dining establishments to information-oriented websites and mobile applications. As for addressable advertising, Cadent expects a major jump in spending by both agencies and individual brands this Upfront cycle, due to better audience measurement and deeper ability to target specific consumer demographics. 

Tricarico sees a role for Cadent in smart TV advertising sales developing over the next two to three years. Despite estimates of $13-$14 billion in smart TV ad revenue this year and above $20 billion in 2020, he’s waiting for that marketplace to resolve some issues first. “The big question is measurement,” Tricarico insists. “Who will measure? How do you measure this audience? How do you define impressions? All these questions still need to be worked out. The smart TV market is still in its infancy and will be a much bigger player as time goes on.”

Interactive advertising and commercials running on broadcast services powered by ATSC 3.0 technology are two other options Cadent is exploring right now. When both become scalable and measurable, they will be utilized, Tricarico promises.

When this Upfront season wraps, Tricarico has two big messages to communicate throughout the entire ad community: This medium is evolving – not dying – and it’s time for the ad sales business to morph into an ad solutions business.

“We’ve reached the tipping point where agencies and clients are saying enough is enough,” he says. “They need help. You have to solve problems. We’re out to help everyone maneuver through this challenging marketplace.”

* C3 Ratings: key demo ratings (18-34, 18-49, and 25-54) for Cadent Total Day (Mon–Sun, 6a–12 midnight) in 2017/18 vs 2014/15
**Media Dynamics, Inc., www.mediadynamicsinc.com/media-matters/august-1-2018

Faith-Based Titles Find Success with Custom On-demand Audience

As we head into spring and approach a few religious holidays including Easter and Passover, we wanted to shine a light on Cadent’s unique approach to achieving success with on-demand faith-based films.

Each year, we work with a handful of faith-based titles and take a special approach planning them. That’s because we can’t treat a faith-based film in a particular genre with the same targeting approach as we might use for other films in that same genre. For a drama title with a $1-10 million opening box office, for example, the on-demand revenue is $2.5 million on average, compared to about $1 million for a faith-based drama.

We know broad targeting approaches won’t work here. The audience for faith-based titles is very specific, and while there is definitely opportunity for success on-demand, there aren’t obvious attributes with which to target these potential viewers. Additionally, we have to work within regulations on using faith and religious preference data.

Our solution was to leverage the volume of faith-based titles we planned to develop a custom audience segment with a distribution partner that doesn’t use any PII to reach likely viewers.

This content segment utilizes first-party data and lets us target renters we know have interest in faith-based content from previous activity, not personal information. Using addressable advertising, we can promote new releases and catalog faith-based films while adhering to privacy rules.

This refined segment works. On a recent faith-based drama, Cadent used addressable advertising to target a custom audience and saw a 328% lift in the platform buy rate compared to the baseline campaign metrics without addressable support. Reaching that right audience can make or break a revenue goal–especially for campaigns with limited or no theatrical support.

There are many more opportunities to refine performance by homing in on the right target. Consistently, we see about 7% of on-demand sales come from new renters. Sampling only our faith-based films, that average is closer to 13%. This indicates a rich potential for a sales lift with the right audience.

There are also opportunities for success through aligning with seasonal events. We see substantial sales lifts annually thanks to certain holidays like President’s Day, which sees a 71% boost in transactions compared to a normal Monday.

Looking at the month ahead, Easter usually isn’t one of these occasions. It always lands on a Sunday and tends to carry a minimal lift of about 5%, not really big enough to warrant backing with a large budget. That is not the case for faith-based titles–the transaction lift can be upwards of 400%! Easter represents a big opportunity for this custom audience.

The same can’t be said for all faith-based holidays: Christmas, for example, doesn’t drive a significant increase, likely because there are other seasonal catalog titles in addition to a plethora of major new releases competing for attention.

Our custom addressable solutions open up a lot of new opportunities to promote and find success with smaller-budget, niche-audience films like these.

Learn more about Cadent in-home entertainment.