One of the unintended benefits of modern-day TV’s digital and data renaissance is the unmistakable blurring of lines between what has historically constituted “national” and “local” advertising. What was once a clear distinction in media buyers’ strategic planning rationale between cost-efficient broad-based reach (the hallmark of national TV buys) and higher-priced, but more geographically-assured targeting (local TV’s promise, at least in DMA terms) is now rapidly overlapping — creating tantalizing new ways to reach audiences with concurrent effect.
Local at Scale
The most obvious of these advances is the increased ease by which local spot TV inventory — both through broadcast station inventory and via multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) interconnects — can be recast beyond classic local market geographies into a wider scale and more cost-efficient reach. Major advances in automation, technology and data-driven programmatic platforms have enabled sellers of local TV ad inventory to increasingly tap into budgets previously reserved exclusively for national allocations, offering advertisers an efficient reach alternative with the added benefit of local impact.
Large local broadcast station groups, multi-MVPD inventory aggregators, local TV SSPs — and a new generation of “unwired” broadcast networks like the AI-fueled XACTV — are all harnessing the power of data-informed programmatic technology and digital connectivity to transform valuable local TV spots into turnkey multi-market scale, and, in many cases, with more efficient CPMs than traditional network TV.
Conversely, the desire of many national advertisers and their agencies to better target their TV ad messages is growing exponentially, as this past spring’s Upfronts continued to prove. Increasingly, savvy marketers are demanding greater specificity around where their messages are being delivered, and, in many cases, a more performance-based ROI assessment from their media expenditures — much like they have grown to expect from digital advertising. With television historically accounting for a disproportionately large chunk of national marketing budgets, it should be no surprise that the medium is being challenged to step up its metrics of worth and effectiveness.
As the distinctions between local and national TV ad delivery continue to blur, the opportunities to combine the best of both become even more attractive. Marketers will increasingly be able to better align their overarching brand messages with regional or local sensibilities and, more importantly, against delivering more targeted messages based on product inventory needs.
Best of Both Worlds
National brands that also spend heavily on local co-op marketing to supplement their top-of-funnel advertising with promotional calls to action will be able to not only manage campaign messaging more accurately but also reduce redundant spending into more coordinated, unified and optimized campaigns. For example, a fast-casual restaurant can target multiple geographies with individual promotions, all under one national buy.
To take full advantage of the rich “national-local” hybrid opportunities ahead, the operational processes of ad planning, buying and selling need to change dramatically — and quickly. Through a proprietary platform powered by machine learning, XACTV provides advertisers with an opportunity to begin this journey today. Similar to the data-driven digital media platforms, the precision of advertiser TV campaigns will continue to sharpen.
Marketers and their agencies need to continue to think more holistically about how they creatively conceptualize and smartly allocate for increasingly fluid TV (and, more broadly, video) ad availabilities, and convert their national-versus-local buying expertise distinctions into a more unified approach. Similarly, ad sellers need to break down their own internal revenue silos to accommodate marketers’ increasing desire to measure value and success through more sophisticated metrics of performance.
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