Screen Wars

Four ways the web is helping TV advertising

Kai Ryssdal Sep 16, 2014
Screen Wars

Four ways the web is helping TV advertising

Kai Ryssdal Sep 16, 2014

Television advertising isn’t what it used to be, and the reports show it: spending was down more than 7 percent during the second quarter from the same period last year, while online ads were up nearly 10 percent in the first half of the year.

But for Starcom President Amanda Richman, it’s an exciting time to be in her line of work: connecting advertisers with their ideal customers.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for blue sky,” Richman says. “Thanks to technology, thanks to the abundance of data, and the great creativity that’s happening in this space.”

Richman offered up four ways TV advertising is keeping up with a changing media landscape.

Big data

Part of Richman’s job is navigating the changes in media and parsing through data to give her clients the best possible reach across all platforms.

“It’s helping them understand that it’s no longer connecting with viewers through television spots, and radio, and publishing,” Richman says. “It’s gotten much more expansive with digital, and the ability to connect with them through mobile and social, all powered by data.”

In short, more data equals more money, potentially, when it comes to placing ads.

“With more data, we may be more willing to pay more for a message we know connects with the right audience and minimizes the waste,” says Richman.

Increased personalization

In the not-too-distant future — just a few years, Richman says — the ads playing during the same commercial break could be different depending on who flipped on the TV and from where. 

“We are looking at a world of dynamic ad insertion,” she says.

That means using location, age and other demographic information from your cable or Netflix subscription, Richman says, to conclude “that you’re going to be more likely to look for, perhaps, a car ad, versus another audience member who’s maybe looking at cosmetics.”

Then, Starcom and other media buyers can get very granular with their ads.

Spilling over to the second screen

Viewers are increasingly using smartphones or tablets as a “second screen” to enhance their viewing experience — or tune out ads.

But new technology would allow a device to pick up audio from an ad and sync up the mobile experience accordingly, Richman says, through promoted Tweets or another advertisement. It might sound far-fetched, but Facebook recently added a feature that does the same thing, listening for TV shows and songs.

“There’s actually ways in second screen to enhance the advertising [rather than] be a distraction or take away from the spot that’s airing,” Richman says.


This all boils down to one point: advertising becomes less annoying as more ads reach the proper audience.

“This is the fundamental change in our business: the ability to be more effective in marketing by being more relevant, more targeted, and perhaps taking advertising from being an annoyance to being useful.”

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