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Factual Forecast: The Transformation of Digital TV in 2020

It’s impossible to ignore that TV advertising is changing in fundamental ways. 

TV viewership is more fragmented than ever, particularly in the US with over 200 ad-supported (i.e. Hulu) and subscription-based (i.e. Disney+, Netflix) streaming services now competing with broadcast television for consumer viewership. How consumers watch TV is also changing. Viewership on connected devices such as tablets and Smart TVs is rapidly growing, which enables more sophisticated advertising tools for marketers.

New types of advertisers are also embracing TV. Digital-first marketers like direct-to-consumer and ecommerce brands, who historically have focused on online channels, are increasing their investment in TV advertising. These advertisers are bringing the digital targeting and measurement strategies they have leveraged in online advertising channels like display and social to their TV ad buys. Marketers who have traditionally relied on broadcast television advertising will need to embrace digital advertising strategies as the TV advertising landscape continues to evolve.

We’re still in the early stages of a digital TV transformation, and in 2020 we’ll see continued growth of data solutions to power TV advertising and enable marketers and publishers to more effectively reach consumers.

Here are some of the notable shifts and trends we expect will play out across the TV landscape this year:

Data-Driven Targeting

In 2020, marketers will grow their usage of data-driven audience targeting on TV in the following ways:

  • Marketers will increasingly supplement their national broadcast TV buys with more precisely targeted third-party audiences on OTT and addressable linear TV inventory.
  • We’ll begin to see inventory packages from OTT services based on third-party audiences, not just content.
  • Marketers will increase the use of their first-party data in TV advertising and employ similar retargeting strategies that are used today in digital media.

All of the above reflect the trend of marketers investing in TV media to reach consumers based on their real-world behaviors and not just on broader reach and demographic attributes. Factual’s new ready-to-use TV audiences allow marketers to reach viewers based on real-world behavior, enabling them to bring the sophisticated audience targeting tactics they are already using for digital media to their TV buys. These TV-specific segments span every vertical, reach over 130 million US consumers and their households, and are available across all TV inventory types.

Investment in Measurement

We will see marketers increase their investment in TV measurement and shift away from traditional gross rating point measurement.

  • Marketers will increasingly look to holistically measure the impact of their media across all TV partners – from linear TV to OTT – based on real conversion and behavioral metrics, not just reach. Particularly as consumers watch TV on multiple services and devices, marketers will need tools to accurately measure the impact of their advertising across the entire TV ecosystem.
  • Broadcasters and TV providers will leverage advanced measurement solutions – particularly in this year’s upfronts – to accurately demonstrate the value of their media in not just reaching specific demographics, but in reaching the consumers who are making purchases.
  • Accurate ad measurement will be the key to winning in the new TV advertising ecosystem. Marketers who can successfully understand the full impact of their TV advertising will see significant increases in ad effectiveness. The media owners and publishers who invest in measurement and ad research will establish themselves as valuable advertising partners as consumer viewing behavior becomes increasingly fragmented.

This year, more than ever before, marketers and media owners will need to demonstrate the value of TV advertising through real-world conversions and lift — not reach estimates or proxy metrics. Marketers can leverage Factual Measurement to understand the performance of TV ad spend by connecting deterministic foot traffic to each impression served and boost performance with mid-flight optimization.

Continuing Arms Race among Advertising Platforms

Advertising platforms will continue their arms race to expand their TV advertising solutions, particularly for:

  • Access to Inventory: Platforms will continue to expand the types of digital TV inventory they support – from OTT to addressable linear – to ultimately enable a unified and integrated TV buying solution across all TV media types.
  • Exclusive Inventory: Companies that run ad platforms as well as their own OTT services will begin to make their OTT inventory available exclusively on their platforms.
  • Global: Outside of the US, global markets are undergoing this same transition, and access to digital TV inventory in global markets will become increasingly important. 
  • Identity Graphs: Accurate identity graphs are critical to delivering digital TV advertisements to the right consumer at the right time. In 2020, we’ll see platforms continue to invest (or make acquisitions) to improve identity graph coverages.

The right data partner for marketers is the one who can work with all of the media platforms within the rapidly-evolving TV advertising landscape. Factual has deep integrations across the entire TV ecosystem, allowing for Factual data to be leveraged on all of your TV campaigns. See our full list of partners here.

We’re excited to see how these predictions play out, and we’re ready to support marketers with the scalable, high-quality data they need to capitalize on the wealth of TV opportunities in 2020.

Get in touch with our team at to get started!