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Aisha Ude, associate director of product marketing, Invest TV, Xandr

For decades, TV advertising was limited to standard age and gender buying — a broad targeting approach that satisfied advertisers’ need for mass scale but had significant waste. In recent years, data and technology have played a critical role in enabling greater precision for linear TV targeting, presenting advertisers with new strategies such as data-driven linear (DDL). 

DDL is a more advanced, audience-based way of buying TV that blends the best of both worlds —  the precision of digital data and TV scale. With DDL, advertisers define audiences based on richer data sets for targeting consumers more granularly by behavior, attitudes and shopping habits. Precise audience segmentation, combined with optimized TV plans generated by media owners, allows advertisers to deliver their messages to consumers who will be more receptive to their content, which results in better overall performance. DDL campaigns that are optimized against strategic targets significantly improve return on ad spend, generating an average increase of 30% audience targeted impressions compared to demo-targeted campaigns, according to Xandr internal data. 

Despite the improved outcome that data-driven linear offers for TV investments, antiquated age and gender targeting that emerged in the 1980s is still being used by many advertisers and agencies. This is perhaps related to a perception that buying more niche audiences at scale on linear TV is complex and time-consuming. According to internal data, more than 40% of advertisers cited the effort required as a barrier to adopting data-driven linear buying. 

However, thanks to advancements in technology and data, executing data-driven linear buys can be as easy as buying demo-targeted TV. Ad tech platforms offer the functionality and scale that advertisers need to plan, transact and measure national TV investments against advanced audiences, effectively overcoming many of the barriers to DDL adoption.

New technology makes defining and activating advanced audiences simpler

The challenge of defining and activating advanced audiences being too complicated is becoming a thing of the past. Technology platforms have simplified the activation of advanced data for TV by providing standardized workflows for advertisers to build consistent audiences across media owners using first- or third-party data sets

Standardization ensures that audiences are sufficiently sized and eliminates inconsistencies when media owners separately define their audience target. With this advancement, buyers have insight into unique reach and universal estimates across their entire data-driven linear campaign. 

There’s no shortage of data for advertisers to define the precise audiences they want to reach on TV. Through partnerships and a flexible data infrastructure, technology platforms provide access to a range of data sets to help advertisers reach specific audiences and fulfill various marketing objectives. Advertisers can simply select always-on third-party segments, such as “small business owners,” that are available for immediate use or define unique audiences by combining multiple attributes. To leverage first-party data, safe-haven partnerships enable fast and efficient audience matching to TV viewership data. All audiences can be saved and used in future campaigns, further driving efficiencies. 

Ad tech platforms provide a comprehensive view of performance across sellers

Previously, individual buys across media owners inhibited unified campaign management and reporting, presenting advertisers with a disjointed view of their campaign. Each transaction had to be managed and evaluated in silos, as each media owner’s proposal contained different metrics. Reach and frequency estimations had to be unified manually, accounting for the variances in methodologies across media owners. The effort was extensive, and the results were an estimation at best.

The DDL marketplace has evolved. Ad tech platforms can now provide access to a scaled data-driven linear marketplace, enabling advertisers to transact with multiple media owners, removing the inefficiencies that existed from executing campaigns individually. Through these platforms, buyers can activate advanced audiences, initiate the RFP process across multiple media owners and review a consolidated view of standardized campaign proposals and reporting inclusive of impressions, CPMs, indexes and total deduplicated reach. 

All in all, technology has enabled more streamlined and standardized data-driven linear buying at scale by providing the functionality needed to make planning, transacting and measuring campaigns a whole lot easier. Partnering with the right experts and leveraging the right solution enables advertisers to overcome perceived barriers to adoption and realize the full potential that data-driven linear offers.

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