The more targeted an ad is to a particular audience, the higher the chance it has at making a successful impression, right? This idea refers to how addressable a campaign is. 

Addressability is all about showing different digital ads or media to different consumers—to “deliver specific product or service messages to specific cohorts.” It can be used to improve ad performance, not just for boosting sales or signups, but to improve consideration, intent, and sales key performance indicators (KPIs) with a more targeted approach. 

If  you find the right medium to make it happen.

But in our changing media landscape, what is the best platform for addressability? Here’s what you need to know about addressability, and how to choose the right medium.

Making Addressability Happen

What exactly is addressability? 

It can be tempting to think of addressability as personalization. While the two concepts are similar, there are some inherent differences between them. Addressability lives somewhere between personalization and relevancy.

Total Retail has described addressability as, “The process of customizing a brand's message, product, placement, and timing to match the personal lifecycle needs of the customer at a specific point in the purchase cycle, thus optimizing relevance.” While this requires a certain level of personalization for a range of consumers, it’s not about personalizing digital media for each individual. 

Addressability in digital marketing has not always been an option. It’s only possible thanks to the unique combination of new technologies that bring different digital disciplines together:

  • Infrastructure: This requires a database with a robust tech stack and digital management platform to leverage personally identifiable information and mobile data to pinpoint unique groups within your target demographic.
  • Analytics: Dedicated analysts who make the most of large volumes of third-party data and the analytics tools to enable intuitive segmentation and insights, as well as accurate audience modeling, and the power to understand real-time media behavior and marketing attribution.
  • Plan execution: Programmatic media and platform tools to focus on message optimization over total mass impressions using insights gathered from data and analytics. This also includes life cycle and purchase cycle alignment, location and timing proximity, and designs that work on multiple platforms and devices. 

Addressability is about feeling personal and relevant without being intrusive. It can be thought of like this:

  • Valuing both consumer identity and anonymity: Addressability is about ensuring a consumer feels understood and valued without being called out by name. Consumers want and appreciate targeted ads, but they don’t want to feel called out or tracked. 
  • Not overwhelming your consumer: Retargeting ads shouldn’t mean that your target audience is seeing 50 ads in the span of an hour or a day.

Addressability is all about striking the right balance. Consumers won’t feel like they are being ignored by brands if they see ads for items they recently purchased, and at the same time, they don’t want their ads to be too specific. They might feel like brands are being too creepy if their digital media becomes overly targeted. 

The Challenge of CTV Addressability

CTV—or Connected TV—is quickly becoming the most popular way for U.S. consumers to view television media. It’s estimated that 213.7 million people used CTV at least monthly in 2021, which was an increase of 208.1 million people before the pandemic. What’s more, households that rely on more “traditional” television formats are decreasing. Pre-pandemic, 76.8 million households used traditional TV, and that number was forecasted to be around 74 million at the end of 2021. 

But even though consumers are using CTV at higher rates than ever before, that doesn’t mean that this is the right medium for brands looking for a venue to advertise with regards to addressability. Sure, CTV ad spending rose more than 40 percent between 2019 and 2020, but media buying across CTV platforms is not without its challenges. 

For starters, brands have to navigate a whole range of operating systems, both from manufacturers and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, making it difficult to connect with consumers on a variety of CTV options. There’s so much complexity in this ad buying process. 

Additionally, this complexity only increases when brands start to think about analyzing and synthesizing their advertising data. As AdWeek shared, “Roku data isn’t interoperable with Samsung data or Hulu data.”

While there’s plenty of data available within these CTV platforms to segment consumers for addressability, this data doesn’t flow both ways to help brands maximize the impact of their ad spending. AdWeek continued, “It may be possible to gain insights within one particular CTV channel, but good luck looking at audiences across platforms—let alone anything related to omnichannel addressability.”

What does this mean for brands looking to make the most of these platforms? More middlemen mean more opportunities for fraud. In fact, the rate of CTV ad fraud was twenty times higher in the fourth quarter of 2021 than it was in the same quarter during 2020.

Between the risk of fraud, fragmentation of the market, and inability to synthesize data or campaigns, CTV may no longer be the best platform for addressability.

Mobile: The Next Phase in Addressability

While CTV presents some uncertainties for brands looking to reach specific audiences, mobile media advertising seems to address these concerns head-on. Also, mobile devices are where consumers spend the majority of their time online. Especially since 85 percent of adults have a smartphone and American consumers spend nearly 4.5 hours every day on their cell phones and mobile devices—mostly using apps—this market is a smart way to address niche groups and target audiences. 

In 2022, it’s estimated that 197 million U.S. consumers will be considered “second screen users,” up from 191.1 million in 2020. Not only does this show that television (and CTV) are struggling to hold a viewer’s undivided attention, but it also shows that consumers are looking up content related to their TV program, or are casually browsing the internet while they are watching traditional or CTV. 

This highlights that television can’t be your only avenue to reach consumers—and that your target audience is always on their mobile phone, providing you with a wide, addressable audience. In fact, 88 percent of the time consumers spend on their phones is within the apps they have stored on their phone, providing all kinds of opportunities for highly addressable campaigns. 

Additionally, in-app advertising is a much smaller issue compared to mobile web advertising. It’s reported that in-app advertising is 25 percent less prone to fraud

How the Advent of 5G Fuels Mobile Addressability

Mobile phones have always been a reliable way for brands to aim for addressability, but as phones become consumers’ primary medium for internet access, the mobile digital medium is an increasingly appealing option. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers are shopping, communicating, and socializing on their mobile devices more than ever before. Some are even using their phones to run their households, thanks to the advent of smart thermostats, appliances, security systems, door cameras, speakers, and more. The 5G network makes this even easier because as Advertising Week reported, 5G speeds can be as much as 10 times faster than wireless internet networks. 

Also, Advertising Week shared that 5G uses an IP-based architecture. This makes addressability more doable while remaining compliant with privacy policies. And as the publisher stated, “advertisers can easily scale addressable campaigns via mobile, thanks to a small number of carriers with interoperable data capabilities.”

Why else is 5G shaping the future for mobile addressability?

  • 15 percent of internet users rely solely on 5G for internet access without any kind of in-home wireless connection
  • 28 percent of consumers aged 18-29 use only their phones for internet access

It’s clear that between the use of second-screen devices and 5G access, consumers are working towards a mobile-first world. When it comes to addressability, it only makes sense to meet them where they are. 

Making the Addressable, Doable

At MBI, we’re driven by consumer patterns and real-time data. When it comes to addressability, we’ll help you navigate tried-and-tested channels like CTV while also helping you make the most of must-have, current trends in addressability like utilizing mobile media channels. But no matter the data or the medium, we’re here to make addressability work for you.

Our team at MBI will leverage our years of experience to make the most of your media strategy. At the same time, we’re tapped into today’s industry connections, and we always have our finger on the pulse of future consumer behavior—all to help you buy the right media and the right price for any campaign, whether it be digital or mobile-first, out-of-home, television, radio, print, and more. To learn more about how we can help you, connect with our team today.