SAN JUAN — The value promised by connected TV systems offering addressable advertising always seemed to be that ad buyers could precision-target the viewer they want to reach.

So why are so many advertisers either spending so little or using addressable for a different purpose?

In this panel discussion at Beet Retreat, a cast of “millennial”-aged companies assembled to discuss issues affecting the pace of roll-out of future TV advertising – and what advertisers really want it for…

Scale before sale?

The panel heard that what ad buyers really want is audience scale. This may seem to go against the inherent promise of addressable TV, which can make an audience far smaller but also far more relevant…

Mark Gall, Chief Revenue Officer, Alphonso:

“There’s a lot of great data sets out in the marketplace. There’s 199 million homes. Get to half, you really have something. And then the strategy and the media planners will start funding that at a much, much higher rate than it does now.”

When scale fails

Today, connected TV even seems to mitigate against large-scale campaigns. One ad-tech exec said the promises aren’t quite living up to results achieved in limited trials – perhaps one reason so much advertiser spending in OTT is still considered “test-and-learn”…

Hardeep Bindra, Managing Director of Product, Sizmek:

“The general expectation from our digital-first customers is as we expand to CTV, OTT – and then adventuring to addressable and linear – is that we will continue that same (performance) approach in defining attribution. It works to a degree when it’s in a closed-loop testbed … But the minute you try and reach scale with it that’s when these systems start to either fall down or the delay in attribution breaks the existing models that we have in place.”

Connectivity to cap

If connected TV advertising doesn’t yet have big scale, it may offer something else. Beet Retreat heard many executives talk about its ability to help cap the frequency with which viewers see a TV ad…

Frank Sinton, President & Founder, Beachfront Media:

“Connected TV but it hasn’t hit that 50% (penetration) mark yet. So we’re more like 10 or 15% penetration at this point. (In) connected TV, in particular, frequency (of ad exposure) is something that we’re looking really closely at.”

Reach is within reach

But the panel heard that using addressable TV to reach large audiences is possible. Two companies that have spent the last few years building out a patchwork of advertiser delivery opportunities, in very different ways, weighed in…

Beth-Ann Eason, President, Innovid:

Right now Innovid is 75 million households through nine different streaming devices across 1,000 different apps that are capable of delivering an interactive OTT ad.  So the capacity is there. The systems and structure that we’ve talked about today is lagging that a bit. But we are continuing to focus on the largest potential audiences that can be lit up to be able to bring this reality to market.

Mark Gall, Chief Revenue Officer, Alphonso:

“One of the things that we’ve built over the last couple years is this local owned-and-operated station group opportunity which is, going back to we’re in 35 million homes, one out of every three TV homes, so we work with almost all the large station groups.”

Beyond TV

Connected TV isn’t just about what happens on the TV. In a multi-touch consumer ecosystem, if you can track viewership and link it to outcomes like visitation and brand CRM data, you have the capacity to deploy sophisticated attribution that can prove the real value of connected TV exposure…

Mark Gall, Chief Revenue Officer, Alphonso:

“We’re literally enabling them to prove that their local TV ads are actually driving to the website or actually driving to the store.  We’re able to do that because we are literally bringing live placeIQ data and matching it against our IP and IDs. So, ‘Wou’ve seen the ad for the F150, did you go to the dealership?’ ‘Did you see the ad for Taco Bell, did you go to Taco Bell or to the website for TD Ameritrade?’We literally get live information.”

This video was produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Beet.TV executive retreat. Please find more videos from the series on this page.

The Beet Retreat was presented by NCC along with Amobee, Dish Media, Oath and Google.