Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How addressable media can help advertisers grow business post-Covid 19

By David Price, Managing Director of The Grove Media

For many UK advertisers, the focus in 2020 was all about survival. Marketing spend was cut or completely halted and growth plans were put on hold. And right now it may seem to many businesses that this should be the ongoing strategy. But as we all know, businesses that continue to invest in advertising during a crisis are the ones that typically emerge stronger and are better able to compete.

But with revenues down in many sectors and with very real pressures on finances, how can businesses – particularly SMEs – be given the confidence to spend on advertising? Embracing addressable media, beyond search and social media advertising, could be the answer.

Until quite recently, many SMEs have focused on short-term, tactical campaigns using local or trade media that they know and can afford. All too often this has meant that there is no clarity on the KPIs for the media being bought or how the types of media work together to deliver results. And, in some cases, the media simply doesn’t engage the right people in the right way.

For advertisers with modest budgets looking to target very specific audiences, addressable media has been the answer to many of their advertising problems. By combining first party data with mobile technology, SME advertisers have been able to find the sweet spot in marketing – talking only with their identified prospects, at an individual level.

Facebook and Google have been the pioneers of online addressable advertising, and SMEs are now the largest cohort of advertisers on their platforms, benefitting from precision targeting, low wastage and highly measurable campaigns.

Advances in addressable media and greater use different types of data – demographic and other personal information – are now making it much easier for advertisers to target individuals at a national, regional or hyper-local level. However, some SMEs are being slow to embrace these new opportunities. Addressable advertising options are now more readily available across mass reach channels as media owners become more sophisticated in their digital offerings and better at packaging them for a broader range of clients.

Simple and affordable addressable advertising solutions are now more widely available across TV, video-on-demand, mobile, out-of-home and radio. This means that for many advertisers, TV has become affordable – and viable – for this time.

Through addressable TV, SMEs can now invest in super-targeted, niche campaigns on prestigious channels. So, if they want to, they can target dog owners or households with two or more cars, in a particular area and with highly personalised messaging delivered directly to their living rooms. And they can amplify this with geo-targeted video on Facebook. For a significant number of advertisers, this will come as big news.

Sky TV was the first channel to offer addressable advertising through its Adsmart product, enabling SMEs to target who they want to for as little £3000. Other major broadcasters have now come to market, such as ITV with its Planet V, and other offerings are likely to come on stream.

Radio has been digital for some time now, but with the launch of the Digital Audio Exchange (DAX) – which connects advertisers with all forms of digital audio – addressable radio has really taken off. Out-of-home advertising isn’t as far down the road as its broadcast counterparts, but things are moving fast and smaller budget advertisers will see this market open up to them in a more targeted and cost-effective way.

Crucially, as we move out of lockdown and into a ‘new normal’, businesses will need to quickly win back business and attract new customers. Addressable media enables smaller advertisers to navigate the changing movements of people as they spend more time out of the homes. And it enables them to spend money on advertising in the confidence that is connecting them with the right people in the most cost-effective and measurable way.

And, the results that investments in addressable can now deliver are genuinely impressive. In 2019, The Grove Media worked with specialist media partner S4M to promote Regent Street’s Christmas Light switch-on and to drive shopper footfall for client Crown Estate. Using a variety of addressable formats on mobile to target affluent consumers, we were able to increase store visits by 29% and deliver a staggering 80% conversion rate. And results shared by Sky’s Adsmart tell a similar story. Heating installation company Gasway saw a year-on-year increase in revenue of 35% when it advertised in its East Anglia area. Sky reports that new-to-TV advertisers typically enjoy a 20% boost in purchase metrics when they use Adsmart.

Results like these and the prospect of hyper-local targeting and reduced advertised wastage are frankly just what smaller advertisers need right now as they start to think about their future growth strategies.