If It's All TV … Now What?

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Another Advertising Week here and gone. It was nice to get a couple of days to connect, reflect and muse about the future of our industry under the warmth of the fall New York sun, at its new home in Hudson Yards (or for me, virtually). This year's central narrative spoke to the momentum behind the convergence of TV and digital, and most speakers agreed, "It's all TV." Challenges were acknowledged, but with significant advancements in data, technology, and scaling inventory, the undeniable takeaway was that today, there are real solutions to harmonize the fragmented space.

Today, the adage "don't let perfection be the enemy of the good" rings truer than ever. The industry has produced solutions to move TV to an audience-first approach, with planning tools that can find audiences using superior, deterministic methodologies. TV has converged with digital-like campaign measurement. Full-funnel, outcome-based insights are available across nearly all varieties of TV campaigns.

Whether the TV tactic is local, national, or addressable, TV has audience-based planning and accountability measurement covered. Admittedly, some solutions are more robust than others, but TV has met its moment to reach audiences beyond age/gender and prove campaign accountability.

Now that the industry has gained experience with more advanced TV measurement, no one doubts the power it provides, with its ability to connect with consumers through premium quality, brand safe content. That allows buyers to achieve massive reach and drive behavioral outcome-based results.

As we head into 2022, there are some specific issues that need addressing, which will move TV forward.

New Currency

A fundamental impediment to true cross-screen TV buying is the legacy transaction metric. The industry must complete its shift away from ratings points to impressions as the superior currency. Not only does this move provide more accurate measurement, supported by census-level data, but it will also serve as the backbone for an efficiently stewarded audience-based, cross-screen marketplace.

The industry has acknowledged that traditional currency measurement is failing and is aggressively exploring alternative solutions. These solutions will move the industry beyond ratings and ultimately beyond impressions to a combination of currencies supported by audience measurement, verification services, and outcomes.

While there's ongoing work needed to solve for next-generation currency, scalable measurement solutions exist today from companies like Ampersand. It reaches 80 million households and provides planning and measurement insights via its AND platform on 42 million households.

The AND platform leverages aggregated, deterministic viewership insights and reports granular audience reach, frequency, and outcome-based results for local, national, and addressable campaigns. Ampersand does not suggest that the industry move to transacting on these insights as currency, but rather leveraging them for future TV optimizations that drive more efficient audience reach at effective frequency levels.

Holistic Measurement

A cross-screen TV approach is the only strategy that ensures advertisers are fully reaching their target audiences without excessive frequency. However, de-duplicating these metrics across the fragmented TV ecosystem has proved troublesome. In a recent study produced by TVSquared, 86% of respondents agreed that achieving cross-screen TV measurement is a top priority.

It's one thing to de-duplicate metrics within one media provider's ecosystem alone, but entirely another thing when requiring insights to optimize the entirety of a TV investment. The buy side and sell side, supported by emerging technology and measurement solutions, are all rising to the challenge, with many new platform and partnership solutions announced this year.

Ampersand's response to the cross-screen de-duplication challenge is to offer clients Total TV Measurement to help plan, buy, and evaluate cross-screen campaigns -- regardless of whether the campaigns were even sold by Ampersand. This measurement solution gives advertisers and agencies the ability to unify the measurement of audience-based media delivery across all of their TV investments -- including network, spot, addressable, and streaming.

As a result, clients can holistically understand whether their target audiences are underserved or overserved and optimize media allocation with the goal of uncovering new reach opportunities across the full breadth of their network, cable, and addressable campaigns.

Data Collaboration

For cross-screen targeting and measurement to work at scale with consistency and speed, interoperability and data collaboration are essential. While a wide variety of data is used for targeting and measurement -- including ad exposure data for optimization -- most operations are inefficient and costly. There's not a single identifier to match data sets; identity resolution requires flexibility. Changes in browser technology, identifier degradation, and privacy scrutiny have incentivized marketers to expand their first-party data strategies.

There is a rapid trend toward new investments in data collaboration, with "clean room" technology backed by flexible identity resolution and media activation as the model. For cross-screen TV to fulfill the "It's all TV" mantra, advertisers, agencies, data companies, and media companies must share and analyze data for identity, audience insights, targeting, activation, and measurement in a secure, privacy-friendly manner. Ultimately, new technology and granular data are available to propel advertising that's meaningful, more effective and consumer-privacy protected.

The energy and focus on collaboration that could be felt all throughout Advertising Week is inspiring. We are in the fortunate, important position to move TV forward in a revolutionary way powered by currency, measurement and data.

This article was written by Danielle Seth, Vice President Sales Strategy at Ampersand, where she oversees strategic innovation and partnerships. Seth brings a wealth of experience in media with a long track record of driving advertising innovation by demonstrating the impact data, insights and technology can bring to marketers, agencies and ad sales divisions.

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