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Finding the addressable balance

News, 19 October 2016

NEW YORK: There is huge opportunity for creativity in addressable media but the industry needs to find the right balance as regards segmentation or risk looking like "a kid in a candy store", a leading industry figure has said.

"We've sliced audiences far too thin," according to Zak Treuhaft, president of Hearts & Science, the OMG-owned, data-driven marketing agency originally set up to handle P&G's $2.6bn media business.

"If I go to a creative agency and say 'I have 400 segments, each one of which will receive a completely different message', no creative a) wants that assignment or b) can likely find 400 different versions of an ad for 400 different targets," he told Beet.tv.

"I think we'll find a nice equilibrium where there are slightly different spins on slightly different campaigns and creativity will live across multiple screens in different ways, but not all the way to N equals a million," he added.

Up to now, he suggested, the danger has been that the industry becomes obsessed by the tools at its disposal, rather like the proverbial child in a candy store.

He also observed a parallel between cross-screen addressability and the early days of digital advertising.

"First into the boat will be people who can very easily model out and attribute direct sales to their message," he said – typically categories such as automotive, travel & tourism and electronics that involve high cost and high consideration and where "far down the funnel there's an intense need to address a very specific person".

But he expected that cross-screen addressable advertising would become the norm for all categories "as the value of the data that lives inside that campaign becomes more widely understood and more easily scaled".

The notion of balance also extends to the way that cross-screen addressability allows marketers to adjust campaigns depending on the outcome sought.

"Part of the promise of addressable is that it allows you to tune and target whatever work you're doing with a lot greater fidelity," Treuhaft said.

"If you're looking for more efficient it work it allows you to reinvest more dollars in other parts of your marketing programs or elsewhere – that's where the promise of addressable lives."

Data sourced from Beet.tv; additional content by Warc staff