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The Challenges Of Tracking TV Ads To Store Visits

As TV increasingly becomes a part of multi-screen attribution plans, expect both brands and TV manufacturers to make tracking ads to visits easier.

While cross-device attribution largely focused on desktop and mobile for the past few years, TV is now starting to become a point of discussion among brands and marketers as a potential “third screen” for tracking customers. A survey from Digiday last year showed over 50 percent of respondents were interested in buying addressable TV inventory (addressable meaning connected and therefore visible, think “SmartTVs” that allow for streaming and an internet connection or digital set-top boxes that show ads).

In a report from eMarketer on cross-device attribution, Alan Beiagi of DataXu said: “Television is a very big part of the cross-device discussion. About a year-and-a-half ago, they were two separate discussions: ‘How am I going to get all the money that I was previously investing in TV into digital?’ and ‘How do I do cross-device on everything that I’m already executing?’ And now, it’s the same discussion: ‘I’m doing TV, and I’m going to do cross-device, so how do these two relate?’”

But the real challenge for using addressable TV as a means to drive store traffic remains: how how to track the role an ad delivered to a set-top box has the same performance metrics as a clickable mobile ad?

“You have no real view into what’s happening to performance of your advertising and that’s where it gets interesting,” Ubermedia’s Michael Hayes told GeoMarketing. Mobile ads are much easier to attribute to in-store visits due to the wealth of location data they provide and the fact that people usually bring their phones into the store with them. Even when the data on who saw a TV ad is acquired, it can be difficult to put into context since there’s so little of it.

In the old days, you’d buy a lot of ads in prime time and hope that people saw them and came in. Now, when every dollar spent on desktop and mobile advertising can be calculated to how many conversions it brought, marketers are making the same demand when it comes to other media platforms, such as addressable TV.

“The only difference is you’re just using television rather than a video ad that runs on Hulu,” said Hayes. The problem there is that addressable TVs still make up the minority of home theater setups. Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia estimates that only about 15 percent of US households have addressable TV setups, according to eMarketer.

In the near future, eMarketer expects that TV and cable providers will develop more open ways for their products become addressable and connected while brands and marketers will further integrate TV into their multi-screen efforts to track ads to store visits.

About The Author
Daniel Parisi Daniel Parisi @daniel_parisi_

Daniel Parisi is a New York City-based writer and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. Daniel specializes in coverage of mobile payments, loyalty programs, and the Internet of Things.