Introduction to Advanced TV: What Every Marketer Should Know

Dara Kotek


Most of you probably read the trades and know that you can now use TV to target audiences like you can in digital. But do you know the difference between addressable and programmatic? Does the targeting work on linear TV, too? What does data-optimized actually mean, anyway? Aside from the early adopters, many marketers can’t define exactly what Advanced TV is.

And that’s ok. It’s very new and innovating rapidly. Whether you’re here because you want to understand how you can use Advanced TV to bring your ad buying practices into the 21st century, or you just want to understand the evolving TV advertising landscape, this post is for you.

The first thing to know is that Advanced TV isn’t just one thing. It’s a broad term that encompasses an array of products and services. In this post, we’ll examine three of those services: programmatic TV, addressable TV, and data-optimized TV. Each has different functions, different features, and one might be better for your brand’s goals than the others. Together, we’ll explore how the services work and identify some questions to ask when considering which service might be right for your business.

Programmatic TV

What is it? Programmatic TV attempts to deliver the efficiency that ad technology creates in the digital world, and bring it to TV ad buying. Many marketers associate programmatic with automation—think real-time bidding on available inventory—but since ad buying on TV still requires a predominantly manual workflow, programmatic solutions are mostly used for planning. Once you’ve chosen a provider, you can upload customer data, create a target audience, and rank the available inventory in terms of which units are the best fit for your brand’s marketing strategy.

Key questions to ask a prospective provider:

  • What’s required to integrate a programmatic solution into my media workflow? Do I need to format the data in a certain way? And how do I get the data into and out of your platform?
  • Where does the automation end and the manual work begin? Once I have my plan, how does it get executed?
  • What inventory sources are accessed through your platform? Are they local, national cable, broadcast, rotators, or at the program level?
  • How can I use my CRM data for targeting?

Addressable TV

What is it? Addressable TV is a form of technology that enables brands to deliver ads directly to specified households. It’s ideal for reducing waste, but compared to the 110 million households reached by linear TV, its universe is relatively limited in scale. That’s because it’s comprised of about 40 million households via addressable-enabled set top boxes (STBs), and another 10 million households through video-on-demand and TV everywhere apps. To execute a campaign, marketers first create their desired target audiences. That audience is then matched to the households in the addressable universe, and the ads are delivered only to those specific households. But beware—delivering enough GRPs to a smaller, addressable audience segment often results in high frequency for heavy viewers.

Key questions to ask a prospective provider:

  • How much of my target market is contained inside the addressable universe?
  • Within that group, how can I maximize my target reach while avoiding the excess frequency for the heaviest TV viewing households?
  • What can you do to help me scale across different MVPDs?
  • How will you help me measure the business impact of exposure to my campaign?

Data-Optimized TV

What is it? Unlike its addressable and programmatic counterparts, data-optimized TV spans the entire advertising process and focuses on closed-loop reporting to help marketers determine the impact of their campaigns. Marketers can connect data sets to create strategic audience targets, build media plans that maximize efficient target reach, and activate those campaigns across linear TV, but the key to data-optimized TV is that it enables marketers to understand the true value of the media they purchase. By matching what people watch with what they buy, marketers can see which audience segments are most responsive, which networks and dayparts are most effective for reaching them, and which parts of a campaign aren’t working well enough. In turn, marketers can then refine their targets, build more efficient media plans, and continually optimize each subsequent campaign for improved performance.

Key questions to ask a prospective provider:

  • Can I use my CRM data for targeting? And what 3rd party data sets do you activate?
  • How do you select inventory? Is it index-based or do you use other data to determine the most efficient plan?
  • How can I see which audience segments are responding to my advertising?
  • What kind of attribution models can be applied to my campaign?

I hope this content will serve you well as you educate yourself about the Advanced TV market or begin your search for a provider that meets the needs of your business. Is there something else you’d like us to explain? If so, or if you want to get in touch to talk about how Simulmedia can help you reach more of your target audience more quickly and effectively, just get in touch.

Want to drive growth for your business with TV advertising? Check out how Simulmedia helped other businesses get more from every ad dollar.

Interested in getting the latest from Simulmedia?

News, insights, and events sent straight to your inbox!