Dear Madison Avenue: You shouldn’t quit TV.

October 6, 2015 Dan Wagner

We’re introducing the software to help you save it.

“TV as an advertising medium is broken.”

You hear it every day ““ consumers are cutting the cord, shifting to mobile, and demanding wider content options on demand. And it may all come true ““ eventually.

But, the fact is that 87% of American adults will turn on their TVs this week.1 Families and friends gather to watch live events, dramas, comedies, sports, and more. Many even think we are in a modern-day TV renaissance.2

And the reason is quite simple ““ Americans still love TV. They love blogging, debating, tweeting and, most of all, watching it. And marketers love TV as a result ““ it’s still the single best channel to get a message out to a large audience quickly.

With the renewed engagement on TV, this means viewers also watch lots of advertising – your advertising. This year, companies will spend $79 billion dollars on TV advertising alone, about 42 cents of every ad dollar.3

But TV, at least right now, is also a marketer’s burden. In this era of big data, companies want to target their exact audiences ““ the specific people they care about – and not the broad, imprecise demographic segments that are increasingly ineffective and outdated. Automakers want prospective car buyers (not ‘Men’), consumer packaged goods companies want people with healthy food preferences (not ‘Women’), sporting goods retailers want people interested in sports (not ‘Youth’) ““ and so on. New data streams and models make it possible, however, solutions using this data either have not scaled or are simply attempting to duplicate digital methods. This means TV ad strategies have not caught up – and companies are fed up.

That’s why today we are launching Civis Media Optimizer, the first-of-its-kind ad-planning platform for TV. Civis Media Optimizer empowers advertisers to, for the first time, pick the exact mix of programs that maximize reach to their specific audiences for their budget. It’s TV ad planning finally done right.

To show why it works, I’ll take you back to our history in politics, where I served as the Chief Analytics Officer for the 2012 Obama Campaign. Before 2012, politics was in a very similar situation TV is in today. Billions of dollars worth of ads and personnel resources were being spent the same way they had been for decades; ignoring the fundamental issue of understanding who to focus on and how to effectively reach them. Our campaign’s lesson, as far as advertising is concerned, is simple: Do the work to understand individuals based on data, and meet them where they are.

The same goes for TV advertising. With Civis Media Optimizer, we start with your specific individual-audience data (built by us or you), match it to anonymized consumer viewing habit data sets using a privacy-protecting third party, and provide you back the data within an in-browser user interface. The platform’s algorithms then sort through the billions of combinations of shows to pick the exact combination that maximizes reach for your target audience(s). Your planners can then quickly and iteratively ‘optimize’ their media buy for your budget. You get the reach of TV with the precision of digital.

Discovery Communications and GMMB are among the media companies and ad agencies using the platform today to build better, more efficient buys.

“When it comes to campaigns and elections, every advantage counts,” said Jim Margolis, partner at GMMB. “Working with the tools that Civis has developed gives our clients an edge in both effectiveness and efficiency that can mean the difference between winning and losing a campaign.”

“When partnering with Civis, GMMB media planners are able to provide even greater efficiencies – we’ve seen 15% improvements – through their analytical tools and data integration,” added Daniel Jester, Managing Director at GMMB. “These tools provide sophisticated audience insights, deeper cost analysis, and more targeted media solutions for our buyers. They are a leader in the tech and data analytics industry that is revolutionizing how media is purchased.”

We’ve seen your agencies provide stunning creative, insightful messaging, strategic direction, and more. But that’s just not enough anymore. Your clients are starting to demand that every choice they make ““ not only in advertising, but in everything ““ be driven by data. They know it because they have to survive, and they’ll demand it of you ““ their agencies ““ because otherwise they won’t survive in the 21st century.

We’re data-driven, and we’re telling you not to quit TV. We’ve built the software to help you preserve it.

  1. http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2015-reports/total-audience-report-q1-2015.pdf 

  2. http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/television-renaissance-a-list-actor-1201514853/ 

  3. http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/20/2015-ad-spend-rises-to-187b-digital-inches-closer-to-one-third-of-it/ 

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