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Addressable Advertising – The Next Generation?

November 17, 2016

Digital outlets have boasted about their ability to better target advertising to potential consumers. By knowing what internet sites a consumer has visited, or where they are located geographically, they claim a higher return on the advertising investment. This technique is known as addressable advertising, and it might be ready to get even more sophisticated. The recently announced AT&T acquisition of Time Warner could take this system to the next level.

AT&T collects data from its 90 million wireless subscribers and its DirecTV households. With access to Time Warner’s assets, this massive company may be able to use the set-top box to deliver ads to individual households. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson stated, “When you combine Time Warner’s content with our scale and distribution…[and] put that with our customer insights and the addressable advertising opportunities that flow from that, we think we build something here that’s really special.”

This merger would also allow AT&T to become devise agnostic. A consumer could see the same targeted ad on their TV and cell phone.

The most important element of this potential change is the data collection. One organization will know what shows you watch, which websites you visit, and where you are located. With all of that data, they can target ads that they believe you will be most interested in. This may be alarming to some regulators.

While sounding like a potential sea change, is this addressable advertising going to have the ROI that advertisers expect? Radio has proven that, bought properly, it delivers a tremendous ROI. Recent Nielsen studies have continued to prove this, and ultimately that’s what advertisers want.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner