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Questions to Ask Prospective Advanced TV Providers - Part 2

Josh Brentan
Josh Brentan
Published: Jan. 30, 2018

If you’re looking to make your TV more accountable and are searching for an Advanced TV solution, we’re here to help you differentiate between the different pitches you’re likely to hear.

In Part One of this post we talked about questions to ask prospective Advanced TV providers on the subject of audience targeting. In Part Two below we’ll cover media planning and buying, as well as campaign measurement.

TV Media Planning and Buying

TV viewing audiences are more fragmented than ever, with the average US household receiving nearly 200 networks. What’s not often spoken about, however, is that campaigns are still planned and bought the way they were back when there were 30 networks. This has led to today’s campaigns being plagued by inflated frequency and decreased reach. Technology offers a solution. With the right platform, marketers almost instantly can evaluate available inventory across all of national TV and create media plans that maximize the reach of a strategic target audience—often with thousands of spots on upwards of 50 networks.

While you may pay a bit more for targeted CPMs, it’s important to think of TV advertising as an investment, not a cost. By reaching more of the customers who are likely to be interested in your product, the value you get back will prove well worth the initial expenditure. Here are a couple of questions to ask an Advanced TV provider to make sure you don’t have to settle for a strategy that embraces the status quo.

1. How do you select inventory?

It’s important to note that while many Advanced TV providers claim to use granular audiences for planning, when it comes to actual inventory selection, they usually revert to the industry standard and rank spots based on how they index against standard age/gender demos. To truly take advantage of the efficiencies offered by Advanced TV technology, look for vendors who are able to secure the inventory recommended to reach more of your target audience.

2. What inventory sources are available on your platform?

By knowing the inventory sources available, you’ll be able to better understand the scale at which a provider can help you activate your media. Many Advanced TV providers offer household addressable advertising, which has a footprint approximately 60% of the size of linear TV. Other Advanced TV providers have relationships with only local media owners and must stitch together multiple buys to give the impression of a national footprint. Look for vendors with network-direct relationships that enable them to reach the broadest array of customers across the national TV viewing universe.

3. How does your solution make my planning and buying more efficient?

Advanced TV solutions work best if you’re willing to follow the data. Allocating 35% of your TV ad dollars to primetime inventory may seem like a good move in theory, but even reducing that to 25%, given the cost of prime time advertising, would enable you to buy hundreds of other spots across multiple dayparts to reach even more people in your audience more efficiently. Ask prospective providers for their philosophy on how your ad dollars should be allocated—whether their answer is right for you will depend heavily on your brand’s specific business goals.

While you may pay a bit more for targeted CPMs, it’s important to think of TV advertising as an investment, not a cost.

TV Advertising Measurement

Historically, TV measurement has been based on impressions, rating points, and more recently, audience reach. It’s one thing to know how many GRPs a campaign delivers or how many people you reach, but neither of those measurements provides the context needed to understand the impact of a campaign on business outcomes, nor are they enough to understand how marketers can optimize for the future. New technology can help marketers fill those gaps.

In speaking with prospective providers, probe into how they use data for measurement and what sort of campaign optimizations they are able to offer as a result. Their answers should reveal if they’re a good fit for your business.

1. Can I use my proprietary data for measurement?

By matching exposure data with transaction data from your CRM, you’ll be able to know which viewers saw an ad and what action they subsequently took. This will yield powerful insights on which customer segments were most responsive to a campaign. Additionally, if you're using 1st party data for targeting, using that same data for post-campaign outcomes measurement is invaluable for developing deeper analytics on customer behavior and media performance.

2. What will you be able to tell me about how my campaigns perform?

The key things to listen for in this answer are whether you’ll be able to understand which days, dayparts, and networks perform best in a campaign, and what kind of conversion lift rate a campaign generates among different audience segments. This knowledge not only allows for the optimization of future media buys, it can also help you refine your target audience segments to improve the conversion rate over time.

3. What sort of attribution options do you offer? Do you have flexibility in terms of customization?

There are a number of attribution models for Advanced TV campaigns, from person-level matching of transaction and viewing data to the more general time-based correlation. If the prospective vendor doesn’t have a model that enables you to measure your brand’s KPIs or give you options in terms of attribution windows and reporting metrics, ask if they have preferred measurement partners who might. Look for best-in-class names so you can feel confident in the eventual results.

1st party data is invaluable for developing deeper analytics on customer behavior and media performance.

After reading both parts of this blog post, we hope you’re now feeling well prepared to determine which Advanced TV provider is right for your business. While there are many point solutions, Simulmedia’s platform offers integrated targeting, planning, buying, and measurement solutions within a single system—and we’ll guarantee our results.

To find out how our TV advertising platform can help drive growth for your business, contact us today.