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The art, science and brilliance of engaging video ad creative

Rebecca Waring

VP insights & solutions

Les Seifer

vice president, head of creative

What’s stopping you using advanced TV advertising?

Why isn’t your brand using advanced TV advertising?

2020 was the year many brands stopped talking about advanced TV and started using it. Hilton Hotels used custom-built audiences to reach only their best prospects. SodaStream created 80 hyper-local campaigns, each centered around a particular Boots store. Just Eat targeted lapsed customers among All 4’s database of registered users.

Alongside these big names, the fall in TV advertising rates due to the pandemic and the precise targeting available through advanced TV technology has made TV advertising available to smaller brands that had never been able to use it before. So, why isn’t your brand using advanced TV advertising?

"I don’t know what advanced TV advertising is"

Advanced TV advertising is the result of TV’s own digital transformation. It is the combination of the best of TV – high-quality, scalability, brand-safety, full viewability – with the best of the internet – dynamic, one-to-one ad delivery supported by first-party data. It is available in two main ways: through broadcasters’ video-on-demand services like ITV Hub and All 4, and through Sky’s AdSmart.

That means it has reach. ITV has 32m registered VOD users, Channel 4 has 24m and Channel 5 has 5.5m. Some 17m people watch programs on BVOD at least once a week. Meanwhile Sky has contracts with more than 10m subscribers, and AdSmart can reach 40% of UK homes, via Sky and Virgin Media boxes.

It also has committed audiences. People watching BVOD channels have sought out a particular show. And almost all the advertising (97%) on BVOD channels is played in full. Over on Sky, AdSmart can serve ads across all the company’s channels, as well as the Viacom, Discovery, A&E Networks and Fox portfolios, and Channel 5. The next addition will be Channel 4, which signed up to the platform recently.

"I don’t know what it can do"

Because BVOD is delivered via the internet, ads can be inserted into the video stream just like they are in YouTube videos. AdSmart goes even further. It stores ads on the customer’s set-top box, so they can be pulled not just into on-demand streams, but also to replace ads on linear TV in real-time. Next-door neighbours watching the same show on Sky at the same time could see different TV adverts in the break, depending on how the brands involved are targeting their campaigns.

This is the other half of the advanced TV advertising story. Broadcasters receive valuable first-party data about BVOD users when they register, while Sky does the same when its customers sign their contracts. This means internet-sized quantities of first-party data to form the basis of how advertising is targeted. This could be geo-targeting of an entire campaign to certain specified postcodes, or assigning different creative to different locations across a regional or even national campaign.

It could be targeting custom audiences built by the broadcaster combining first-party data with other information they possess, such as viewing habits. Or, lookalike audiences created by matching your target customers’ interests with those of other people in the broadcaster’s audience database.

Or it could involve matching your data with broadcaster data to make sure your ads are only seen by people who are not already your customers or who are coming up to their renewal date, for example.

"I don’t know how to buy it"

Just like in online advertising, traditional manual ways of buying ads are rapidly being replaced by programmatic approaches. Broadcasters are increasingly offering the ability for agencies – and advertisers – to plug directly into their DSPs, or to work with particular DSPs that plug into the broadcasters’ SSPs. From an ad buying perspective, advanced TV will soon be one more addressable channel.

"I don’t know how to find more information"

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK. Earlier this year it published a guide to advanced TV, covering what’s currently on offer from UK broadcasters and what’s coming in the near future. The guide also looks at some recent examples of how brands are using the most advanced TV technology to deliver their campaign objectives.

To download a copy of Advanced TV - Everything you need to know about advanced TV advertising, click here.