Personalised TV Advertising Marks Next Step towards Holistic Marketing
In a world where marketing is becoming ever more personalised, television can seem like an anachronism.Online advertising can be targeted demographically, contextually and even by stage in the purchase journey (via retargeting). Email content can be tailored to past purchase history and consumer preferences as captured by click history. But for TV, we're still left with buying ABC1 all adults, with all the wastage that entails.It's no wonder that so many premium and luxury brands have written off TV as an irrelevant mass market media when it comes to their media plans, despite the undoubted power that TV commands to influence consumers.Of course, TV has made some faltering steps towards greater targeting via the advent of video on demand and the greater targeting options that offers. But Sky might be about to turn TV advertising on its head with the launch of its AdSmart service.AdSmart is the first step on the road towards personalised broadcast TV advertising. Launching in June, it will be delivered to owners of the Sky+ HD set-top boxes, of which there are 7.3m in the UK, although the total audience for AdSmart will be smaller than this as customers have had the opportunity to opt out of the service.How does it work? Well, Sky's subscribers have provided demographic information such as age, location and household composition. At launch, a few dozen ads from the 30-50 brands involved in the launch will be sent to these subscribers set-top boxes. Based on the information that those customers have provided, relevant ads will then be seamlessly inserted into live broadcast streams when those customers are watching any wholly-owned Sky Channels including Sky 1, Atlantic and Movies (but excluding news and sport.)The benefit to the consumer is more relevant advertising. To advertisers, it's a more relevant audience and less wastage as well as the ability to tailor their message. For example, a car manufacturer could advertise their people carrier to a household with children and sportier models to those without. Creatives could differ dependent on the locality - so consumers could be directed to local dealerships for a test drive.It's no wonder that a number of Sky's rivals are actively looking at similar services. Virgin Media are planning to launch their service later this year and backers of internet TV service YouView, which include the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, are considering introducing new software on to their set-top boxes that would enable targeted TV advertising. Sky is looking to extend its service too, to deliver relevant advertising when subscribers are watching other channels via their Sky Box.It's a first step on the road but the possibilities are perhaps more exciting than the actuality at the moment. The targeting options are a little crude and the service will come at a premium - so it's currently unknown as to whether the increased relevance will compensate for the increased costs.But the possibilities are exciting, though. The future may see viewing preferences become part of the data available, so advertisers will be able to understand more about lifestyle and interests as well as demographics to help them target their offerings. As connected TVs become more widely adopted, web browsing habits and online transactional data might be included to allow the targeting to become even more precise. The more data sources that can be linked, the more exciting the possibilities become - particularly for premium and luxury advertisers for who precise targeting is key.We see this development as part of the inexorable trend towards holistic marketing. The more data sources that an advertiser can link for each individual customer - be they address, mobile number, cookies, device IDs etc, the more they'll understand that customer and be able to deliver personalised advertising which moves the consumer seamlessly through the purchasing journey.The achievement of this is dependent on how happy consumers are to trade their data for more personalised and relevant advertising. A recent study from Experian suggested that 50% of consumers are - although that enthusiasm wanes with age and the number of media channels(e.g. email, direct mail, social media) brands are asking consumer to share date over.The challenge for premium and luxury advertisers will be gaining consumers trust and therefore giving consumers a reason to share ever more data. However, we believe the rewards are well worth the extra effort.