Where to start? Choosing your first networks and publishers.

July 21, 2020

Prospective clients often ask, “Which networks or publishers do you suggest we launch with, and why?” It is a great question, and if answered incorrectly, the root to wasted spend.

Traditional TV agencies like to match a brand’s target demographic with the network audience description (as put together by Nielsen). This will lead to stereotypes, such as females are watching the Cooking Channel and E!. Truth is, a LOT of females are also watching NFL or ESPN.  To make matters worse, traditional agencies like to throw a lot of money at such media plans. Think of it as the $1M minimum bet at a roulette table.

Audiences of different networks are not so binary. Here we see the overlap of E! and ESPN is 52%. Classifying these networks Male or Female doesn't capture the extent to which these audiences actually overlap.

At Tatari, we like to leverage set-top box data and/or smart TV data instead when it comes to cable and broadcast TV. By using set-top box data we can get more scientific results to demographic targeting. This can be enhanced with look-alike audiences from Smart TV data. In the latter approach, we step away from demographics altogether and instead, will build audiences based on the programs and networks that a brand’s current visitors or customers are watching.

In streaming TV, programmatic is often a good start. By overlaying 3rd party data sets, we can apply demographic and/or psychographic targeting, and drive for better outcomes. When paired with fast measurement (and the ability to invest in small doses), we can quickly discern what audiences respond best.

Such initial targeting is really just meant to jumpstart a campaign. Smart buyers will test their targeting strategies in small-dollar doses as small as possible, but still big enough to draw a statistically conclusive decision. We may pair this with a few other factors, like market demand-supply (e.g. wait for a publisher or network firesale to test). Probing for performance and identifying the winners/losers (before scaling) is possibly more important than having laid out that perfect targeting strategy on day one. 

Skyler Logsdon

I'm the Head of Sales and I love swinging for the fences. 


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