“On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Tim Jenkins, EVP and head of audience & identity solutions at Cadent.
Apple’s planned restrictions on use of IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), requiring publishers to obtain an express opt-in, is ringing throughout the advertising world.
But on the TV side, it won’t be as big of an issue. When it comes to connected TV and OTT, Apple simply does not pull the strings the way it does with mobile. Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on TV, nor does it have the same audience scale or high-value demographic reach with Apple TV as it does with the iPhone.
In terms of OTT, publishers that are more dependent on mobile will have to face a new layer of complexity that didn’t exist before. Companies in the TV space who depended on Apple’s common identifier on mobile, such as publishers who rely on streaming via an iPhone, will experience marginal impact.
So while marketers may lose a degree of access to consumers through their mobile devices, this move now makes CTV/OTT arguably the best vehicle to reach those same consumers on a one-to-one basis.
It’s time to think of TV as another digital channel
As a consequence of the loss of IDFA, I expect to see a shift in ad budgets from mobile to other digital channels. Connected TV is an excellent place to start.
Rather than waste ad spend on high-level targeting on Apple devices, you can refine to a household or even individual level with connected TV. By thinking of connected TV and OTT as another digital channel, you’re still able to reach “Apple households” – not through an iPhone, but through another device in the household.
Even though Apple is the first tech giant to make this type of change, they are unlikely to be the last. Marketers must address this potential issue now and focus on building other pathways to their customers. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of a few monopolistic players. In order to be prepared for a shift away from device-ID based mobile strategies, now is the time to invest in connected TV and OTT partners that can provide sophisticated audience targeting solutions and measure real business outcomes such as in-store sales, just like you could across iPhones! What makes this possible? CTV and OTT are essentially digital in nature meaning that ad requests for these platforms include identifiers that we find in digital such as device IDs and IP addresses. Our ability to tie these identifiers to offline data such as frequent shopper cards or credit card transactions at the household level is very similar to how it is done in the digital realm.
Tactical advice for overcoming challenges brought on by IDFA
TV has gone through major shifts in the past decade and technology has evolved dramatically making a whole host of screens addressable. As a result, marketers can now bring their own data to TV allowing planning, activation and measurement quickly and in a way that is very similar to what you can do in digital at a household level. For example, cable and OTT providers can tie their subscriber data to first- and third-party data using email address or device IDs.
Even traditional linear is addressable on a modeled basis using ACR platforms such as Inscape across VIZIO TVs. Advertising then becomes data driven as you target TV devices that belong to specific homes that are only in your target audience. Identity across screens also makes it possible to use CTV as a retargeting mechanism and measure de-duplicated reach.
Two areas where CTV has some work to do to catch up to digital is scale and person-based versus household based targeting. But the medium is becoming more relevant than ever as subscriber rates soar which starts to address the scale issue and as more viewers start consume CTV content on their mobile devices, the ability to do person-based targeting will become a reality. The key to making all of this work is understanding identity across screens and devices.
If you’re a marketer who depended on Apple’s common identifier on mobile, how can you get an understanding of your customers’ identity post-IDFA? Some publishers may use Identity for Vendors (IDFV), where they have to create their own unique ID for each customer. The average consumer has about 20 to 25 apps on their iPhone so there will be 20-25 unique identifiers depending on the number of apps per customer. Of course, this becomes cumbersome to manage but with the right identity technology partner, coupled with other signals, even these can be grouped together in way to make them addressable.
The ability to use the identifier outside of app interactions will be limited or nonexistent. Many advertisers will rely on email addresses, which have their own limitations given that the average consumer has three to seven different email addresses and tying them together into a single ID is a challenge.
Working with a TV identity partner that can connect IDs across multiple touch points at the household level will help marketers create a single identity for their customers across multiple screens. They are in a position to not only help you find alternatives to IDFA with their various tools and technology, but to also help you obtain these new opt-ins by providing a myriad of privacy-compliant tools, giving your customers the comfort they need to trust you with their data.