TV Networks Move to Sell Ads Based on More Advanced Digital Metrics - eMarketer

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TV Networks Move to Sell Ads Based on More Advanced Digital Metrics

TV and digital targeting is a longer-term prospect

December 15, 2016

With US digital ad spending surpassing TV ad spending in 2016, the influence of digital targeting capabilities on the traditional TV space will only rise as the years progress. Marketers’ push to drive advertising results will also encourage TV networks to guarantee audiences via more advanced, digital-like metrics, according to a new eMarketer report, “Television Update Winter 2016-2017: The Shift in Ad Currency” (eMarketer PRO customers only).

US TV* vs. Digital** Ad Spending, 2015-2020 (billions)

The ultimate goal of cross-media audience measurement is to produce an apples-to-apples count of people across TV, digital, print and other channels so marketers can make more accurate decisions on how to allocate advertising dollars. Several years ago, the digital industry began to harmonize its metrics with TV by reporting and guaranteeing on age/gender audiences.

As a result, both comScore and Nielsen created campaign-specific audience measurement products that report delivery of age/gender digital impressions and gross rating points (GRPs) used by both buyer and seller for reporting campaign audiences.

The practice of digital age/gender audience guarantees is going strong today, according to digital ratings firms that provide benchmark audience measurement for ad campaigns. Josh Chasin, chief research officer at comScore, said digital buys based on age and gender are pervasive, based on the campaigns measured by his company.

“What we have seen is that using digital ad ratings to measure digital ad campaigns on an age/gender basis has been growing over the past few years,” added Eric Solomon, senior vice president at Nielsen Product Leadership.

Now, TV networks are supplementing age/gender audience guarantees with data-driven advanced targeting metrics that are more akin to the complex consumer segments sold in the digital space. “Oddly enough, I’ve seen the digital marketplace buying and selling its gender demos; and the TV marketplace, moving into what we call ‘advanced demographics.’ So it’s almost like they’re switching faces,” comScore’s Chasin said. Both advertising channels are now neck-and-neck in media spend, together accounting for a 76% share of the average media budget in 2016, according to media agency Magna Global.

eMarketer spending estimates are similar, pegging both digital and TV spending at roughly $71.5 billion in 2016. Digital spend is expected to outpace TV ad dollars in 2017, with this gap widening during the years leading to 2020.

More advanced targeting TV offerings may help attract the attention of more digitally savvy advertisers and media buyers. Simulmedia’s Morgan mentioned new ad dollars being spent on TV from companies like Machine Zone, which promoted its Game of War mobile game with TV commercials.

“Very sophisticated new entrants are going to come in and they’re going to buy TV and keep their cards close to their vest as to what targeting methodologies they’re using,” he said.

Speaking from a media agency perspective, Turn’s Hampton feels that digital buyers focused on securing video inventory will be attracted to the data-driven nature of secondary-target linear TV ads, such as those that Viacom is offering.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Television Update Winter 2016-2017: The Shift in Ad Currency.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer PRO customers.

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