On Target: The Five Things to Consider When Developing Digital Video Strategies

Nielsen recently released new data showing that the percentage of campaigns using broad demo targeting declined 10% year-over-year, as brands are using increasingly narrower targeting to reach their digital audiences. This apparent shift to more advanced targeting methods shows the strength of the data now available to advertisers, but also suggests they may not be taking advantage of the branding opportunities in video advertising.


As fragmentation of viewing continues to grow, advertisers are looking for innovative solutions to drive better return on their marketing dollars. There are more ways than ever for brands to reach their intended audience based on a variety of transactional, interest, or psychographic behaviors. But when it comes to driving the best results, relying completely on bottom-of-the-purchase-funnel data overlooks options that ultimately can provide equivalent—or even better—scalable outcomes.  


Nielsen’s research suggests that many agencies are building plans that can target their clients’ audiences in the narrowest way possible.  It’s likely that this is happening because digital agency teams have historically placed these buys, and that’s what they know best:  planning and measuring their campaigns in a display fashion, where clicks are the main KPI, and advertisers are only reaching a very niche audience. But things are changing. 


As TV buyers take the reins in deciding how much TV budget should be allocated to digital in order to increase reach, they should embrace the best of what digital video can offer. Where digital buyers were extreme in their targeting tactics, TV buyers should find the right balance. They shouldn’t abandon the idea of focusing on a niche audience or using transactional data, but at the same time they shouldn’t forget that digital video is also a brand advertising medium, supporting broader-based awareness to drive offline sales.  


Consider these factors when developing digital video strategies for a balanced targeting approach:

  • Although a strong and important driver of offline sales and ROI, narrow targeting by itself is limited in scale.
  • Online cookie data sets (specifically in video) typically capture less than 20% of any entire audience universe; targeting tactics need to be used to find the additional 80%.
  • Demographic and other targeting tactics like TV viewing data have been consistently shown to drive positive ROI and offline sales.
  • Certain valuable inventory sources like FEPs don’t allow any targeting and can only be bought against demographics.
  • Younger demographics are accessing video across multiple channels, so look to broader cross-device formats to reach them.


With all the great ways to apply targeting across digital video, the greatest outcome for driving scalable ROI typically comes when broad and narrow targeting are used together. It is the balance of the two that allows advertisers to take advantage of what this extended channel can best offer brands.


This article originally ran in MediaPost.

Aleck Schleider

SVP, Client & Data Strategy

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