The world of television as an advertising medium has been the backbone of retail for a number of decades. Advertise and in came the traffic, through the front doors an into the cash register. But, beginning with the advent of digital and mobile, everything changed. Television viewership dropped while the shopper became the person in charge. So while everyone was yelling and screaming how low they could go, and another sale began on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and of course, Friday, the customer simply ignored and silenced herself behind digital and mobile instant gratification security of shopping, on her time and place.

So television extended the ratings window from overnight to +7 days to keep the ratings numbers reflective of the price one paid. But that only lasted until those numbers began to slide. Digital and certainly now mobile began to dig in and take over the customer’s attention.

As Alexandra Bruell wrote in the Wall Street Journal (12.20.17), ‘TV networks have been selling, serving and measuring ads with the same systems and processes for decades. But times are changing. More people are buying smart TVs that are connected to the internet, and independent tech firms are finding new ways to gather data about the viewing of shows and ads on individual TV sets.’

One such company is ‘Sorenson’s technology which overlays existing ads on smart TVs with new, more targeted advertising. Sorenson is now quietly making waves in media measurement and addressable advertising. The company has technology that can detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen, and then replace an ad with one supposedly better targeted for a specific household.’

What? What was that? Retailers, did you hear that? They can detect and analyze what’s on a smart TV screen and then REPLACE AN AD WITH ONE SUPPOSEDLY BETTER TARGETED FOR A SPECIFIC HOUSEHOLD.

Bruell continued, ‘Sorenson has access to viewing data through relationships with smart TV manufactures that implement its technology. The media company, whether a national network or a local TV station, also plays a role. They must install a Sorenson server, which creates a so-called “fingerprint” of the content recognized by the technology in the TV screens. Sorenson can then analyze that data to help an advertiser serve a targeted TV ad to an individual household’s smart TV, whether it’s during cable or broadcast programming.’

Sorenson’s technology makes it possible for a TV network or TV station to replace the ad certain households see. For example, if a network had sold an ad in a show reaching one million viewers, Sorenson could overlay a different ad for a subset of those households. The advertiser whose commercial was replaced wouldn’t get charged. And the new ad only gets placed when it’s sold for more than the original.’

Bruell suggests, ‘Some advertisers might be happy that they’re not sending an ad to someone outside their target audience, sending a diaper ad to a childless couple in their 60s, for example. Some, however, might want to reach a broader audience, versus a hyper-targeted group of people. Advertisers can choose to make their commercial non-preemptable. If they allow for their ad to be replaced, they may get a discount.’

Why is this important? According to Kantar Media, almost one-quarter (23%) of US Adults have a smart TV and penetration exceeds one-third of households in some key DMAs, per Nielsen. So who are smartTV owners?

Smart TV owners are young and well-educated. They are an attractive demographic profile for retailers and manufacturers. as they demonstrate an above-average likelihood with high incomes.

⦿ Almost 4 inn 10 (38%) smart TV owners are in the 25-44 age bracket
⦿ Close to half (46%) have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (note: fewer than one-third of Americans 25+ have a Bachelor’s degree).
⦿ Fully 15% are in the top 10% of the country socio-economically.

The results also indicate that the majority (56%) of smart TV owners are married or living as married, and that more than one-quester are parents of children under the age of 12.

Smart TV owners multitask with related activities. Kanter Media identified several multitasking activities which are more prevalent among smart TV households than the typical US household. Two of those activities relate to programming.

⦿ While watching TV, more than one-quarter (26%) go online to find out more about shows/people they’ve seen on TV, making them 27% more likely than the average to do so.

⦿ About 1 in 5 (21%) go online to find out more about products/service seen on TV, being 24% more likely than average to do so.

Other multitasking activities that are more common among smart TV households include sending texts and instant messages (33% doing so; 20% above average) and using mobile apps (31%; 27% above average).

Smart TV Owners Over-Index in other device ownership. Previous comScore data has show that Smart Speaker owners demonstrate and above-average tendency to also own other Smart Home devices. It turns out that smart TV owners are also early adopters. In fact, one-third say that they buy new technology products before most of their friends do. They don’t seem to be wrong in that assessment. According to Kantar Media, smart TV households over-index in ownership of a number of devices, including:
Smart tech for home (Index: 145; Percentage owning: 26%);
Smart tech for personal use (Index: 138; Percentage owning: 34%);
Video game console (Index: 120; Percentage owning: 57%);
Tablets (Index: 111; Percentage owning: 65%); and
Smartphones (Index: 108; Percentage owning: 86%);

So what does all of this mean to the retailer and/or manufacturer? The customer is clearly in charge. If you want them in your store or on your eCommerce site, you now have a perfect way to reach them without spending a ton of money. And it will be a rifle shot targeting the exact customer within your local market(s).

Are you an early marketing adaptor?

Are you really ahead of your competition?