Dawn of Targeted TV Advertising

By Rick Welday, President, AT&T AdWorks

2015-09-30-1443616384-4520701-Rick_headshot.jpgTwo months ago, AT&T and DIRECTV came together to create the future of entertainment on any screen, at any time.

AT&T is now the leader in video content distribution across satellite, mobile and broadband platforms and as we create a best-in-class user experience for our customers, my job is to determine how to integrate a seamless advertising business that enhances the user's experience.

Being able to use real and measureable advanced TV advertising capabilities is fairly new, but I think it's something the industry is rapidly driving toward and trying to grow.

I hear a lot of buzz words around TV audience targeting just like you do. Whether it is called "addressable," "data-optimized" or "programmatic," the chatter signals a real shift in how TV advertising is being bought and sold.

This evolution will deliver valuable capabilities that marketers have come to expect as table stakes in the digital advertising world. When it comes to TV, for years marketers have relied on antiquated ratings systems with only general age and gender information to guide their buying decisions, but not anymore.

Given TV's continued prominence as an advertising platform, marketers would be wise to explore new, advanced TV advertising capabilities that deliver stronger ROI for their clients and help them stay ahead of their competitors.

Now that traditional TV is catching up with digital advertising's targeting capabilities, it's time to start testing and expanding true cross-screen advertising. More and more clients need to reach interested consumers regardless of whether they are watching football at home, checking the weather on their phone or doing early holiday shopping on their computer.

Enabling advertisers to tell their story to specific interested groups of consumers -- regardless of what device they use or content they consume -- will be the future of advertising. Now that TV ad technology provides the opportunity of further engagement with consumers, it provides a gateway to connect other smart devices that have had this type of technology for years.

The promise of targeted TV advertising not only gives advertisers the ability to reach interested consumers, but it also measures the effectiveness of their advertising messages. No longer will major TV advertisers be forced to spend millions on expensive TV commercials and not know who saw the ad or if it inspired an action. Today more marketers are able to use real data to measure which audiences saw their ads and the actions those audiences took. This will only grow to become more sophisticated and capable in the near future.

Families and friends don't gather around the TV set quite like they used to. Audiences have begun to splinter and consume unique content on many different screens - often while sitting in the same living room. This should be celebrated by marketers, not feared. Content consumption has never been higher, and that only presents an opportunity for growth.