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Driving Results with Addressable Advertising: A Comprehensive Overview

November 30, 2023
8-Minute Read

Addressable advertising is gaining significant popularity and disrupting the advertising paradigm. According to Ampere Analysis, as of 2022, addressable advertising already makes up 17% of global TV ad revenue and is set to account for $87 billion in 2027. In the North American market, it has an even more significant influence, leading the rest of the world in revenue generation.

This article delves deep into addressable advertising, exploring its nuances and how it revolutionizes the advertising landscape.

What is addressable advertising?

Addressable advertising involves the use of data to target ads to specific audiences or even individuals, as opposed to generic mass media advertising. This form of advertising considers various data points, such as location, behavior and demographics, to create a personalized ad experience for consumers.

What is addressable TV, marketing and media?

Addressable TV, marketing and media collectively represent the evolving landscape of targeted advertising, each with its nuances. Addressable TV refers explicitly to customizing TV ads for different households, enabled by digital set-top boxes. Addressable marketing is a broader term that can encompass a variety of media, including online platforms, mobile applications and even out-of-home digital advertising like billboards. Addressable media serves as the umbrella term that encapsulates all forms of media that can be personalized based on data.

Benefits of addressable media

Addressable TV is a subset of addressable media, which itself is a broader category that also includes online and mobile advertising. The principal advantage of addressable media is its precision targeting, allowing advertisers to segment their audiences finely, reducing waste and increasing ROI.

What is addressable TV advertising?

Addressable TV advertising enables marketers to deliver different ads to different households while they are watching the same program, thereby enhancing personalization and engagement. Let’s find out the way addressable TV advertising works.

How does addressable TV advertising work?

The technology behind addressable TV advertising involves identity resolution, a process of matching consumer data points across multiple platforms to create a single, unified profile. This allows advertisers to target their ads more precisely.

Example 1: Direct upload

Advertisers can directly upload their target audience data to the TV operator's server. The data is then matched with set-top box IDs, ensuring that specific ads are shown to targeted households.

Example 2: Onboarding and activation service

Some TV operators offer onboarding and activation services that allow advertisers to use third-party data for more nuanced targeting. This offers even greater personalization and segmentation capabilities.

Case studies and examples

The era of a precise and data-driven approach to addressable TV advertising is here. Various brands now can carve out niche markets and serve relevant content. Let's explore some specific examples to understand the impact and effectiveness of this form of advertising.

Luxury car brand targeting high-income households

With addressable TV advertising, a luxury car brand can zero in on households with a particular income range. By leveraging consumer data and IP addresses, ads for the latest luxury sedan can be served directly to households with incomes exceeding $200,000, who have also shown a historical interest in premium automotive brands. The brand ensures that every dollar spent on advertising is likely to yield a higher ROI.

Baby products for new parents

Imagine a household that has just welcomed a new baby. This period involves a series of recent purchases — from baby foods to diapers to strollers. A brand specializing in baby products can target such households directly using consumer profiles and behavior data. The new parents could then receive targeted advertisements for baby essentials when they are watching late-night television, a time when new parents are most likely to be awake and could make immediate online purchases.

Travel packages for specific audiences

Using the data-rich landscape of addressable TV, a travel company can get even more specific. Instead of just targeting people who like to travel, the company can target ads to people of a specific demographic who have a search history related to European vacations and have an income level above $100,000.

Localized retail promotions

Retailers running special holiday promotions can localize their advertising efforts to a specific geographical area. For instance, a department store having a 4th of July sale can serve ads exclusively to households within a 5-mile radius of the store. This geographical segmentation increases the likelihood of customers visiting the store and availing themselves of the sale.

After brushing up on the basics, let’s find out more about the evolution of the concept of addressable TV.

History of addressable TV

Addressable TV, as a concept, has been in development for a few decades, but it became more viable with the advent of digital technology and widespread internet access. The early 2000s saw experiments in targeted advertising on television platforms, but these were rudimentary compared to today's capabilities. The concept truly started to take off with the mass adoption of smart TVs and OTT (Over-the-top) platforms in the late 2000s and early 2010s. These technological advancements allowed advertisers to gather data directly from the viewers' television sets, opening doors to more targeted and effective advertising campaigns.

Addressable TV had to overcome significant obstacles. Legislation like GDPR and CCPA also had an impact on how data for addressable TV could be collected and used. Despite these challenges, it found its footing and is now an indispensable part of modern advertising, co-existing with other forms of digital advertising.

In terms of market growth, addressable TV has seen a steady rise in the past decade. According to reports, spending on addressable TV advertising in the U.S. alone has increased substantially year over year, signifying its growing importance in the advertising ecosystem.

Timeline of addressable TV

Early 2000s: Initial experiments in targeted TV advertising were conducted, but they needed more scope due to technological constraints.

2007-2010: The advent of smart TVs and OTT platforms like Netflix and Hulu introduced new possibilities for targeted advertising.

2012-2015: Addressable TV technology becomes more refined; advertisers start to see the benefits of more targeted campaigns, leading to greater adoption.

2016: GDPR came into play in the European Union, causing the industry to focus more on data privacy and security.

2017-2018: Large media conglomerates and advertising companies begin significant investments in addressable TV technologies.

2019: CCPA legislation comes into effect in California, setting a standard for data collection and usage in the U.S.

2020-2021: Widespread adoption of addressable TV advertising is observed, with a noted increase in spend and more sophisticated targeting algorithms.

2023: As of now, addressable TV advertising is a staple in the industry, with new technologies and methodologies continually being developed.

Addressable TV advertising has evolved significantly over the years from a nascent concept to a full-fledged advertising channel. With advancements in technology and a deeper understanding of its potential and limitations, it has carved a niche for itself in the modern advertising landscape.

The difference between linear TV, addressable TV, OTT and CTV advertising

Addressable TV differs from linear TV in its ability to target specific households. OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (connected TV) refer to content accessed via the internet and both can also be made addressable but may have different technology stacks and targeting options.

Linear TV advertising

This is the traditional form of television advertising, where commercials are pre-purchased and broadcast at scheduled times across different channels. The ad reaches everyone watching the channel at that time, without the ability for granular targeting.

Addressable TV advertising

Addressable TV empowers advertisers to display distinct commercials to different households, devices and individuals, even when they are consuming the same content. By harnessing viewer data, it segments audiences to serve more personalized and targeted marketing messages. This precision in delivery amplifies the effectiveness of ad campaigns. 

OTT (over-the-top) advertising 

Originally, the term OTT was coined by broadcasters to describe delivering their services over the Internet. It has since evolved to encompass Broadcasters, MVPDs and content providers that offer their services directly to viewers via the Internet. OTT advertising benefits from the rich user data these platforms amass, allowing for precise targeting. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are notable examples of OTT.

CTV advertising (connected TV) 

Connected TV refers to any TV set that is connected to the internet and has been focused on viewing on big screens. This includes smart TVs and TVs connected to the internet via external devices like Roku or Apple TV. CTV advertising is a subset of OTT but focuses specifically on ads delivered through televisions as opposed to mobile devices or desktops.

Is addressable the same as programmatic?

Addressable and programmatic are different, although they are often used in conjunction. Addressable refers to the ability to target specific audiences with tailored content on a household device or individual level. Programmatic refers to the automated buying and selling of online ad slots via real-time auctions. Programmatic can be used to purchase addressable TV inventory from publishers, but it can also be used for various other types of digital advertising.

How much does addressable TV cost?

The cost of addressable TV can vary widely based on several factors such as the geographic scope, the size of the targeted audience and the platform being used. Generally, it is considered more expensive than traditional linear TV advertising due to its advanced targeting capabilities. However, its return on investment (ROI) has been proven to justify the higher costs because of the more effective and efficient ad spend.

Budgeting for addressable TV

When budgeting for addressable TV, it’s important to consider both the direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include ad spend, while indirect costs could include analytics or third-party services to enhance targeting capabilities. A holistic budgeting approach takes into account both types of costs, as well as potential revenue gains from a more precisely targeted campaign.

Addressable advertising comes with its own set of challenges. But, it benefits advertisers and service providers in several ways.

Reducing Waste with Addressable Media Campaigns

While addressable advertising offers many advantages, it also comes with challenges like data privacy concerns, siloed ad tech stacks, integration issues, omnichannel measurement and the complexity of managing multiple data sources.

However, it is better to weigh the benefits of leveraging addressable TV advertising with the challenges. One of the main advantages of addressable media campaigns is their ability to reduce waste by targeting only those likely to be interested in a product or service. This is achieved through advanced analytics and data segmentation. It is essential to continuously refine targeting strategies and track key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that ad spending is being optimized effectively.

Addressable advertising is constantly evolving with new advancements.

Trends of addressable advertising

According to industry insiders, the future of addressable advertising is bright and poised for significant growth. A growing number of advertisers are reallocating more substantial parts of their budgets toward addressable methods. This shift is driven by the medium's effectiveness and measurability, which are increasingly becoming crucial factors in the rapidly changing advertising landscape.

This industry-wide optimism aligns well with several key trends that are shaping the future of addressable advertising.

Increased personalization through machine learning and AI

One of the most notable trends in addressable advertising is the increased use of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver highly personalized experiences. ML algorithms analyze large data sets to identify patterns and make predictions about consumer behavior faster than before. This allows advertisers to create more topical custom-tailored messages for each viewer, resulting in more effective campaigns and higher ROI.

The importance of privacy and data ethics

As addressable advertising becomes more sophisticated, concerns surrounding privacy and data ethics have come to the forefront. The ongoing discussions around regulations like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California are pushing the industry to adopt more transparent and ethical data usage practices. This trend is leading to a shift toward cleanroom technologies utilizing first-party data and a phasing out of third-party cookies.

Multiplatform and omnichannel advertising

In an era where consumers are accessing content from various devices and platforms, multiplatform and omnichannel strategies have become vital. Addressable advertising is increasingly seen across platforms like OTT services, smartphones and even connected cars, expanding the avenues through which brands can engage consumers.

Real-time analytics and dynamic ad insertion (DAI)

The availability of near real-time analytics is another trend changing the addressable advertising landscape. Brands can now adjust their campaigns in near real-time based on immediate feedback, enhancing their agility and effectiveness. Dynamic ad insertion (DAI) technologies make this possible, as they enable instantaneous changes to be made to ongoing campaigns.

Shift toward CTV and OTT

The decline in traditional pay TV viewing, driven by cord-cutting and the widespread adoption of smart TVs, is propelling a significant shift toward Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. These platforms are especially suited for addressable advertising due to their inherent digital nature, which enables more precise targeting and offers a richer set of data for analysis.

Consolidation of advertising technologies

The addressable advertising landscape is not only maturing but also witnessing significant consolidation, especially among DSPs (demand-side platforms), SSPs (supply-side platforms) and marketplaces. This trend is driven by a desire to offer a more seamless and "digital-like" experience for advertisers. Brands are now leaning toward comprehensive solutions that cater to all their needs, ranging from data management to ad delivery. The market's shift toward these integrated, one-stop-shop platforms underscores the industry's focus on efficiency and streamlined operations.

Notably, consolidation between vendors in the space has already begun in earnest, emphasizing the industry's commitment to creating a more cohesive and simplified advertising ecosystem. By staying attuned to these developments, advertisers can navigate the evolving landscape with greater insight and strategically position themselves for continued success in this dynamic field. 

Take advertising to the next level

Addressable advertising has come a long way from the initial proprietary and siloed platforms. Transforming the advertising landscape with its ability to target specific audiences based on various targeting data. It's a sector ripe with opportunities yet filled with challenges like data privacy issues and the need for advanced omnichannel analytics. As trends like AI, data-driven personalization and multiplatform campaigns continue to evolve, there's a compelling need for solutions that are not only effective but also secure, scalable and reliable.

If you're looking to elevate your advertising efforts, consider Harmonic's VOS®360 Ad SaaS. This cloud-based solution offers server-side ad insertion with massive scalability, allowing you to deliver personalized experiences for live, linear and VOD content. It's designed to maximize your ad inventory and CPMs without increasing ad load. With VOS360 Ad, you can seamlessly integrate dynamic ad insertion into your existing workflow or leverage its open API capabilities for greater flexibility.

VOS Ad offers flawless video content delivery on every screen, ensuring that your ads reach the right audience without any disruption. It's the complete solution that can fit your budget, scale with your needs and drive tailored advertising experiences down to the individual user level. Contact us to revolutionize your advertising strategy. 

Allan Nicholson is Head of Advertising Solutions at Harmonic. He provides business development and strategic direction for the company’s SaaS platform with a focus on advertising technologies. Allan joined Harmonic after 24 years in video services, running product, architecture and complex cross-platform digital ad ecosystem teams.

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