Local At Scale: How National Advertisers Should Be Thinking About Local TV

Rebecca Lerner
Dec 17, 2019 · 3 min read

It’s not an understatement to say that the emergence of streaming services sparked a complete transformation of the TV industry. Millions of viewers are migrating to ‘on-demand’ streaming services, finally viewing content on their own terms, in their own time. And this shift is happening quickly, with recent forecasts predicting over-the-top (OTT) ad spend will surge 39% in 2019 to $3.8 billion.

OTT merges the reach of linear television with the precision targeting capabilities of digital advertising, turning it into an essential part of the marketing mix for many brands. And it isn’t just for big Fortune 500 brands, like with linear TV advertising. With significantly lower prices, OTT presents a whole new world of possibilities for brands both big and small, from local mom & pops to global giants.

The Next Stage Of TV Measurement: Impressions

The longtime reigning champion of TV measurement — the GRP — is slowly, but surely dying. The advertising ecosystem is already fragmented with different metric standards across social platforms, search and TV, and the industry frankly can’t fathom another one being tossed into the mix. Fortunately, the digital-esque reporting capabilities of OTT is spearheading a shift towards impression-based measurement across linear and streaming TV.

At a macro level, trade organization TVB who represents more than 800 TV stations and broadcast groups, is urging agencies to start using viewer impressions as a base for striking ad deals. NBC and Telemundo-owned local TV stations are starting to use impressions instead of traditional rating points to measure an ad campaign’s effectiveness — and the other major local broadcasters are falling in line. This move towards impression-based measurement pushes the industry closer to establishing a uniform cross-platform metric, which would streamline cross-platform ad buys.

Micro Communities On A Macro Scale

Granular measurement and audience-driven targeting capabilities on TV screens have historically been all but impossible until recently. But OTT is enabling an entirely new way to think about TV advertising.

Impression-based measurement would give advertisers a more granular look at local station viewership, which can be leveraged in tandem with other data and analytics to understand ROI, like online purchases or increased in-store traffic.

The digital targeting capabilities on OTT also enables advertisers to create curated, personalized campaigns for their audiences based on a variety of factors like demographics, interests, and much more. And advertisers can utilize this functionality to sprout up more personalized campaign variations for local communities nationwide. Let’s say you’re doing a national launch for a new diaper brand with a big box retailer. By targeting families in the areas surrounding the stores, you can drive foot traffic with qualified customers for the launch and beyond. Using mobile beacon technology, advertisers can track attribution to truly understand the impact of their investment.

The potential of OTT is clear; giving advertisers the ability to strategically and granularly target personas via the TV screen — where ads are proven most memorable with consumers. This helps advertisers achieve incremental reach at national scale, while reaching audiences that linear campaigns might have missed. But in order to streamline this integration and proactively solve the fragmentation problem, it’s going to take collaboration from key industry stakeholders to establish unified metrics for transacting cross-platform campaigns.


Programmatic shouldn’t be problematic


MadHive is an enterprise software platform that provides brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies the infrastructure to power modern media. Learn more at www.madhive.com.

Rebecca Lerner

Written by

Technology Marketing & Strategy Professional. Mom. 6th generation Californian. #VikingRiverCruises target demo. NYC.


MadHive is an enterprise software platform that provides brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies the infrastructure to power modern media. Learn more at www.madhive.com.

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