What Advertisers Should Know About TV Audience Targeting and Planning
TV advertisers today have more targeting options than ever before on both linear and CTV. While Nielsen has been the gold standard for defining TV audiences for decades, other players have entered the market. Data providers like Experian, and even advertisers’ own first-party customer data, make it easy to reach your strategic marketing targets across TV.
For example, Simulmedia partners with companies like LiveRamp and TransUnion/Tru Optik for CTV audience targeting, allowing us to leverage third-party audience segments and ingest advertisers’ first-party audiences, and eventually to generate lookalikes when planning a campaign. As you think about your targeting strategy, keep in mind that adding more targeting criteria can significantly decrease your audience size and increase campaign costs, so be mindful of the balance as you seek to scale.
Most Popular Data Companies for Audience Creation
Nielsen – Nielsen provides demographic data that enables the creation of audiences based on age, gender, presence of children, household income, pet ownership, and more.
MRI – MRI is a panel of over 26,000 US adults that is run by research agency GfK and fused to Nielsen. This panel works through a bi-annual interview survey, (i.e., reported data, not observed), that captures attributes related to measuring media use, product consumption, lifestyles and attitudes.
Experian – Experian has demographic data on nearly all people and households in the US, with attributes similar to that of the Nielsen panel. Experian also offers Mosaic segments, which define households based on lifestyle segmentation.
Kochava – Kochava is a leading mobile measurement partner, or MMP, that has integrated Simulmedia’s viewing data. This means that Kochava enterprise clients see the TV-viewing preferences of mobile app users, e.g., the people who have downloaded an app or have bought something in an app. It’s then possible to buy a TV campaign that runs on the programs these mobile users prefer.
LiveRamp – LiveRamp is a data platform that allows Simulmedia to safely ingest and target audiences using advertisers’ first party data, as well as third party audiences from LiveRamp’s Data Marketplace.
TransUnion & Tru Optik – TransUnion is a global information and insights company. In 2020, it purchased Tru Optik, a data marketplace and data management platform whose patented Household Graph™ of more than 80 million U.S. homes provides TV demographic data and behavioral insights for targeting and measurement across television (as well as streaming audio and gaming.
How TV Media Planning for Linear and CTV Differs From Traditional Approaches
The TV media planning process is unique to each marketer and their individual brand goals. Some brands just want to test and learn as they dip their toes in the water for the first time. Others may want to focus on cost efficiency while those with bigger budgets may choose to sponsor big “tentpole” events (such as major sporting events, awards shows, etc.) to maximize reach.
We’ve provided an overview of multiple approaches so that you can select the strategy that’s best for your marketing goals. Please note that “agency” refers to the internal or external team you’ve chosen to manage your media buying.
More Audience, Less Index
An audience-based approach seeks to maximize targeted audience delivery (impressions or reach) with respect to cost, while an index-based approach looks at target audience concentration within a particular program and its contextual relevance to a brand without respect to the cost of advertising on that program.
More Ads and Networks Per Buy
Maximizing the reach of your target audiences in a hyper-fragmented market — the typical cable subscriber now receives about 200 channels — often means having to buy more than 1,000 spots on as many as 50 networks in a single campaign. When most traditional agencies try to buy this way, they often encounter sellers at broadcasters who aren’t willing or able to sell ads this way.
More Buying Precision
More advanced approaches involve buying day-specific inventory because the audience often varies by day or time of week. Traditional planning doesn’t tend to differentiate too much by day, often using weekly rotators, which will air an ad within a designated daypart only. For example, if a late-night rotator is included in a media plan, the only thing a marketer knows is that their ad will air sometime between midnight and 6am.
Choice of Campaign Optimization
Audience-based, data-optimized TV often gives growth-minded advertisers different optimization alternatives. They can maximize for a specific performance goal, such as acquisition, unique reach of a target audience, or a hybrid of the two. These optimization types will produce very different plans, so choose your optimization path carefully. Here’s an overview of plan options that Simulmedia presented to a client. It shows the tradeoffs associated with optimizing for these different outcomes.
Download our Cross-Channel TV Playbook for a more detailed guide on how to unlock audiences on both linear and connected TV.