National Linear Addressable Demands Smarter Impression Decisioning

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Counter to sensationalist headlines, linear television remains the best starting point for driving reach. However, with each passing day, linear supply shrinks as viewers shift to streaming. Fewer linear impressions means that advertisers need to spend more on other platforms to drive reach, moving dollars from their traditional linear budget to these other channels and tactics.

Enter linear addressable.

According to who you ask, we are either on the precipice of national broadcast addressable capabilities or we have already arrived, effectively opening 14 minutes of publisher-controlled inventory to one-to-one delivery. This means that publishers have a vast array of inventory newly available to them, as they can now sell and addressably deliver an ad spot that is traditionally bought by one advertiser to dozens or even hundreds of advertisers.

A Significant Leap
Today, this technological advance is discussed primarily as a mechanism for precision ad delivery, increasing the accuracy of audience targeting tactics. Over the past decade or so, linear television has slowly advanced beyond age/sex transactions towards advanced audience targeting with data driven linear, and addressable capabilities will provide a significant leap over even that.

But while this precision targeting is an important offering for publishers and value-added for advertisers, it remains only half of the equation. Addressable advertising needs to be conceptualized as part of a larger advertising purchase, driving both precision targeting and incremental reach to complement the traditional linear plan.

As linear TV reach continues to compress and frequency expands, it becomes more important for publishers to ensure that addressable impressions are reaching either people who will not be exposed to the brand’s linear campaign or have light levels of frequency.

To achieve that, we can take one of two paths: We can use a standard segmentation, like targeting light network viewers for addressable impressions. But the challenge with this is inventory supply; by definition, networks have limited impression supply among light network viewers.

Predictive Forecasting
The other approach would be forecasting exposure levels at a campaign-specific level. Through predictive forecasting at a campaign level, brands will have a larger pool of inventory for addressable targeting, returning value to the publisher, and ensuring truly incremental addressable impressions to a given campaign, returning value to the advertiser.

In our tests comparing these methodologies, we found that forecasting unexposed/low exposed viewers to a specific moderate-size network campaign created almost double the remainder audience for incremental targeting compared to a traditional light and medium network viewers’ audience. So it seems like this is a win-win for both the sell and buy side. 

The fact that campaign-level targeting offers greater inventory to utilize makes logical media sense: just because someone watches linear TV a “medium viewer” amount, does not guarantee their exposure to a specific ad campaign. And just because someone is designated a light TV viewer does not mean they won’t have received several exposures to a specific ad campaign.

Publishers, to maximize the value that linear addressable offers, need to shift from using addressable to deliver precisely in target and to start using it to deliver precisely and incrementally. While standard segmentation is a step in the correct direction, we at datafuelX enable predictive forecasting at a campaign-specific level, returning the best value to both publishers and advertisers.

Spencer Lambert

Spencer Lambert is manager, product and partnership success, datafuelX