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Advertisers Will Soon Prioritize Addressable TV Over Linear: Finecast’s Harry Harcus

LONDON – The growth in streaming video platforms will reach a point where advertisers make addressable TV central to their media planning. The ability to reach target audiences with more customized messaging will drive this shift, said Harry Harcus, managing director of WPP-owned addressable TV company Finecast.

“We’re going to reach a point soon-ish, I would say, of mass scale,” he said in this interview with Beet.TV. “At that point, media planners will start to lead with addressable audiences.”

He said advertisers can be classified among three broad categories of addressable TV strategies.  The first group consists of sophisticated, big-budget advertisers with a “total TV” strategy that are seeking to add incremental reach with addressable TV.

The second group includes advertisers that have an “addressable-only” strategy to reach audiences in the lower parts of the purchase funnel.

The third group is made up of marketers that are completely new to TV, and recognize the opportunity to reach target audiences economically.

“You don’t need a big budget that TV has often been associated with,” Harcus said. “Smaller budgets can still allow smaller, scale-up brands/startup brands to target their priority audiences.”

Future-Proofing Against Cookies

While digital advertisers are bracing for the continued loss of tracking cookies that help with ad targeting, addressable TV platforms haven’t ever relied on those kinds of identifiers. Instead, their targeting tends to be based on location, postal codes and households, Harcus said.

“We’ve got a future-ready data strategy for targeting and measurement that has been immune, to some extent, from the changes in the world of cookies and IDs,” he said. “That’s not to say that innovations aren’t going to come along.”

As more advertisers measure the success of their campaigns with outcomes, Harcus is advising them to gain greater expertise in addressable TV by experimenting with the platforms. Those tests should include different kinds of ad creative that are customized for audiences.

“Our research says there’s a very compelling case for getting the relevant creative message in front of the right audience, but also on the right screen around the right content,” he said.

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