Just a few years ago, it was almost impossible to have a conversation about marketing and advertising without the mention of a TV commercial. In the industry, some even consider the execution of a TV ad the ultimate marketing move.


television advertising

However, in today’s world, conversations have started to shift and with that, the relevance of the classic commercial has begun to fade. The consumption of media is changing, and as always, our marketing methods must follow suit.

Although TV programming might not be as popular anymore, TV’s themselves have not lost their relevance, especially Smart TV’s. In fact, according to AdWeek, nearly 70 million U.S. Households now have a connected-TV streaming device. These devices are anything either built in or added on as an extension that would make any otherwise normal TV into a “Smart TV”. Examples of this include multimedia devices such as Apple TV or Roku, game consoles like Xbox or Playstation, or any form of a TV set that has integrated internet and interactive features. These gadgets are very appealing for consumers—giving on-demand access, providing a user-friendly experience, and delivering a way to dodge those commercials.

Sounds like kind of a nightmare for marketers right? Wrong. Although this up rise in “commercial-replacers” has caused a bit of a fuss; it is now becoming clear just how many potentially better opportunities these new methods of media consumption are presenting to marketers. So let’s break down some of these advantages:

  1. Audiences

    With TV commercials, marketers had a pretty good sense of the demographics they were reaching, but there was never a guarantee, not to mention the ambiguity surrounding who your commercial does end up reaching. Who would want to pay paying marketing dollars to talk to an audience that wasn’t applicable to their brand? With most of the devices mentioned above accounts have registered users that provide information such as age, sex, location, etc. making the targeting that much easier. Take Roku for example, they have introduced an “audience guarantee” to their advertising partners—this means that advertisers won’t pay for audiences outside their target audiences. Sounds like a win, win to me…

  2. Advanced Data

    I mean, it is a “Smart” TV after all, shouldn’t it be able to provide marketers with smarter data? Yes—with technologically advanced systems and software making up the backbones of these devices, marketers have even more data available to them to gauge how effective their advertisement was. For example, advanced technology found in smart TV’s can connect to a user’s mobile device ID (especially easy when their mobile device is actually the TV remote), which allows marketers to track real-world behavior. If a Target commercial is served up through the television, the associated mobile phone ID can then be tracked—if the consumer makes a purchase online in that moment or visits the Target store the next day, the data is available. The ability to link the digital to the physical world gives marketers a huge advantage and allows for a whole new process of measuring effectiveness.

  3. Integrated Customer Experience

    The final advantage of these new devices is the ability for marketers to now become a part of the consumer’s experience instead of interrupting it. Commercials have always been seen as a disruption, we use them to grab a snack or start a conversation, and nowadays we often even fast-forward through them! With these new devices it is much easier to become part of your audience’s experience, and change their perspective from “ugh” to “ooh”. Think about Apple TV, the presence of apps is obvious but the advertisements of those apps can be used in extremely strategic marketing plays. In the middle of a movie night? The Dominoes app could notify you of a pizza deal to be the perfect complement. Watching some HGTV? Maybe Crate&Barrel should give you a heads up on their latest sale. There are so many implications for this type of integrated marketing, we have only begun to scratch the service.

So, although many have wondered what marketing without the forever-reigning commercial could possibly look like—have no fear! It is an exciting time to be a marketer and the resources we have available to us now can create better experiences for our audiences and more applicable data for us. So next time you turn on your TV, think about it—who really needs commercials anyway?

Like Walt’s take on the new generation of television advertising? Check out his previous fresh find on voice search optimization here!