Addressable advertising is becoming a reality as providers of TV programming work with cable and satellite TV companies to develop standards for audience measurement and media attribution. With improved targeting of audiences, advertisers can expect to see quantifiable results including business outcomes in the next few years.

Discovery Communications, whose network brands include Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network and TLC, is working to provide audience-based buying to advertisers and media agencies in several ways. Most recently, the company launched OneGraph to unify audiences among its linear and digital platforms, while also providing data-driven targeting with its Discovery Engage platform for advanced advertising.

“We’ve doubled our client base almost every year,” Sam Garfield, vice president of data strategy and advanced audience platforms at Discovery, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We’re definitely seeing recurring clients, and new clients still coming in and testing. We really see the future as cross-platform and addressable.”

Those platforms not only include linear TV, but also the growing audience for connected TV (CTV), mobile and web video programming. Targeting audiences and measuring incremental reach among those omnichannel platforms are especially promising.

“Everyone’s trying to understand, ‘if I extend my buy from linear into digital, what kind of reach am I getting?’ That gives us the foundation to look to the future as we add in linear, addressable and other platforms,” Garfield said. “For us, it’s looking at how we can aggregate across all those footprints and bring a scaled solution to the advertisers.”

Piloting Addressable Ads

Addressable advertising promises to let marketers reach different households as they watch the same TV program. After years of developing the technology and common measurement standards, cable operators are preparing to expand their addressable advertising offerings in the next year.

Discovery participates in the major industry groups to develop standards for addressable advertising, including the On Addressability consortium from Comcast, Charter and Cox; the Vizio-led Project OAR; and Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising effort.

“There’s a lot of demand, and in our initial conversations, there has been interest expressed in participating with these pilots,” Garfield said. “Each of them is at its own stage, but we continue to progress and hope to be in the testing phase with each of those in the next quarter or so.”

Discovery has compiled more than 60 case studies to demonstrate how its data-driven Engage platform delivers results to advertisers. Garfield expects addressable advertising will become stronger at demonstrating business outcomes in the next few years.

“When we start talking about outcome-based guarantees, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to understand the methodologies of each of the platforms that are calculating these outcomes as well as historical benchmarks,” Garfield said. “Then there’s the basic business questions that we all have, which is, ‘if it’s the same audience and the same creative, why would there be a different result across programmers?'”

Data-Driven Approach

Discovery has worked with partners including audience measurement firm 605 to provide more insights for advertisers seeking to measure results at all stages of the sales funnel. Television has almost unrivaled power to connect with consumers at the top of that funnel amid its broad reach.

“In this conversation about outcome-based guarantees, we lost track of part of the power of TV historically, which has been the largest reach vehicle to create brand awareness or brand consideration.” Garfield said.

As a result of its collaboration with 605, Discovery offers the largest footprint in TV with data from Comcast and 605’s data from 40 million set-top boxes.

“That gives us the ability to really look at smaller sample sizes that you in the brand awareness studies and really grow that sample size to a place where you can look at how that overlays with outcomes,” Garfield said.