Tuesday, February 05, 2013

AT&T Brings Online Ad Targeting Tactics to TV Commercials

Heather Way, an advertising technology analyst with Parks Associates, says that AT&T’s results underline that TV companies, advertisers, and viewers all have something to gain if the TV commercial business becomes more like online advertising. Says Way, “It’s more efficient for the ad buyer; the provider can get a higher rate for their ad; the consumer is not bombarded by a bunch of content that’s not relevant.”

There is hope within the industry, Way says, that one day such approaches could make it possible to schedule ads in real time in response to who is tuning in, and perhaps even target them to individuals.

Most people don’t know that their TV provider tracks channel changes. Some advocacy groups may protest the possible privacy implications of such techniques, but Way believes viewers will likely be even less concerned than they are about online ad targeting. “It’s a medium that consumers are just more comfortable with,” she says.

AT&T is not the only company exploring new uses for set-top-box data, says Way, although most efforts are focused on replacing the use of ratings based on surveys to guess at viewing figures. “They’re all looking to mine that set-top-box data and use it better and use it for audience profiles,” she says.

AT&T declined to respond to questions about its TV targeting research and so it is unknown whether this might become more than just a research project. But the company last year launched a new service called AdWorks that offers advertisers ways to measure TV campaigns using set-top-box data and to make TV ads interactive via a subscriber’s remote.

From the article, "AT&T Brings Online Ad Targeting Tactics to TV Commercials" by Tom Simonite.


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