Media capitalists are pushing “connected tv,” meaning television sets equipped with network interface computer cards and content delivered through an “internet service provider” (read: data harvesting) corporation.
Is this being done, as its pushers would have you believe, to expand the possibilities of what you can see on your television screen?
Let’s consult an expert.
Marketing pimp Mark Trefgarne spills the beans in the latest edition of Advertising Age:
Video is readily accessible to consumers today, available whenever they want it from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. And now the streaming world of online video is available on the traditional TV set, with manufacturers expected to push out more models of connected TV this year.
It’s safe to say consumers aren’t going to use their TV set as their primary web-browsing device….The interactive video units currently employed online won’t translate to connected TV, where viewers are accustomed to a more passive, lean-back viewing experience.
This creates a big problem for the overclass sponsors of the whole thing:
Connected TV promises a blissful union of the TV advertising experience and online audience targeting. Yet it’s not that easy to plug the online targeting model into interactive TV, because of the noticeable absence of one key factor: data.
Online audience targeting is possible online because users go from site to site, bouncing between retail and news and video and entertainment, creating advertising opportunities in the process. It’s safe to say consumers aren’t going to use their TV set as their primary web-browsing device, leaving no historic web behavior data or cookies to fall back on. Advertisers need to get creative to find and target their audience.
Of course, there is a solution:
One possible solution is to require consumers to log in with a universal identifier – a Google or Facebook account that will use third-party data to associate TV viewing with other web browsing data. Samsung and Lenovo showed off TVs at CES in Las Vegas that automatically log viewers into Facebook via facial recognition.
Google is already connecting the dots across its web properties to merge data and better understand user behavior. When consumers log in to their connected TV via Google, the company can theoretically connect that user’s search data to their TV viewing, providing a much clearer indication of how to target that user. Start factoring in other data sets from properties like Google+, and you have a very good idea of that consumer’s interests. The same applies to Facebook, where users are already subject to targeted ads based on their interests, interactions and connections.
There are other potential places this model can go. Google’s Wallet product, for example, is tied to both a Google ID and a user’s credit card information. Now we’re talking about the point where one company can follow the thread from online search to a single TV ad to a purchase on a credit card. That’s a level of attribution that analog TV can’t come anywhere near.
The bottom line?
Make no mistake; targeting will be the preeminent strategy for connected TV. This [issue of how to get viewers to log into corporate ISP networks] should be a small hurdle for advertisers to clear when you consider the potential to combine TV viewing with interest data – and possibly even sales attribution in the very near future. The concept of a login that ties TV activity back to web activity will be the key driver for connected TV advertising. Google clearly has the most data for this type of model, and they’re already making a big push with Google TV, so expect them to lead the charge.
The name for this next phase of targeting, which has been on corporate drawing boards for two decades now? “Smart TV.”