Addressable TV advertising: The role of big data

Discusses the current state and the future of TV ad models in the US, exploring how we can improve programmatic TV advertising outcomes, and providing evidence of the predictive power of various pieces of the data picture.


The TV advertising industry is in the midst of a radical transformation from what was once the practice of delivering commercial messages to a relatively mass audience to now serving individual messages to individual consumers in near real-time. Adve to address advertising to and with commercial message will lead to the best outcomes. This new era of more targeted advertising was enabled by three key factors. First, the technology needed to be in place to serve individual audiences (either users or households) as opposed to the total viewing audience. Any medium that is delivered over the Internet enables advertisers to serve messages to individuals (with the use of cookies) on any screen device: TV, computer, tablet or phone. In the case of TV delivered via cable or satellite, the technology exists to deliver advertising messages down to the household level. Second, the advertising industry needed to be willing to move away from a common standard of media audience measurement that limited the view of the audience to broad demographics (measured by companies like Nielsen or comScore). In order to make informed decisions at an individual level, advertisers needed other data to create a much clearer picture of the audience: who they are, what they purchase, what media they consume, and their receptivity to advertising in certain situations. This requires the integration of several data sets to create a more informed view of the audience. Third, the marketplaces themselves had to shift from manual transactions between media buyers and sellers, to an automated marketplace that could handle micro-transactions at scale in near real-time, which is commonly referred to as While the term technically refers to an automated marketplace, we will use the term to discuss all the considerations that factor into its use: the stakeholders, the technology they have available to them, the data that fuel outcomes, and the advertising adjacencies that are available for purchase.

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