The number of U.S. cord-cutters is snowballing: 27.1 million in 2017, another 33 million in 2018, and projections of 55.1 million in total by 2022. And, while TV will always hold a level of importance and prestige as a means of brand and direct-response advertising, it's hard to ignore those numbers — or to hide the fact that traditional media and advertising is struggling.
The irony is that there have never been more media channels or screens to advertise on, but it has never been harder to get your message to the intended target. Although content marketing and native advertising provide an avenue for brands that want to be a little less overt in their advertising efforts, consumers are getting smarter and know when they're being sold to.
But, wait… There's more: Attention spans are decreasing among all demographics. For the past four years, each year the average amount of time people spent looking at their devices has increased, but the average number of times they look at those devices each day has risen at an even higher rate. So, people are looking at these devices more frequently, but in short amounts of time per session. After all, we live in an age where magazines and newspapers are reeling due to the always-on nature of news and content; it is more critical than ever for brands to quickly capture attention and provide content of relevance and value. And that starts with knowing where to find your audience.
That's why there's so much talk in our industry about addressability. But what is it? In short, it's the ability to leverage stats, data, and personalization to target users where they absorb content with messages that are relevant to them. It might seem quaint or even antiquated, but the United States Postal Service can be thought of as one of the founders of the concept – the agency leverages demographic data and top-level household data to help brands deliver relevant mail; for example, sending postcards and catalogs from colleges to houses with teenagers and delivering retirement planning mailers to homeowners nearing retirement.
Now, technology companies, media companies, and brands themselves are using the same concept. For instance, we at a4 serve ads based on who we know resides in a given household and what their interests are. To some, targeting seemed invasive but, as people have less and less time for clutter, relevant messages across all of their screens and inboxes have become more welcomed. A couple with newborn twins probably doesn't need to see an ad for a two-seat sportscar any more than a college student needs an ad for a minivan.
Brands can now use the same methodology to reach users across social, display, search, and the increasingly important OTT/CTV. But that doesn't mean TV has lost its luster. Watching TV is still the nation's most common leisure activity. The average American watches approximately five hours per day and 60 percent of those viewers are likely to make a purchase after viewing an ad on TV, compared to just over 40 percent who saw ads online or on social media.
Estimates suggest that advertisers will spend more than $2 billion on addressable TV in 2019 — and that, combined with cross-screen addressable, keeps users more engaged and, significantly, reduces tune-out and drop-offs.
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