You are what you watch – how our TV viewing behaviour can provide improved identification in a post-cookie world

November 27, 2022

Nothing is more powerful than habit. First, we make our habits and then our habits make us.

When our habitual behaviours are captured and recorded, they provide a good basis on which to define us and predict what we might do next. That’s the foundation of the whole predictive analytics (AI) industry.

As granular data about consumer viewing behaviour has become more widespread, so we have added another means of understanding consumer preferences and predicting propensities to the capability set.

Over my many years of working with viewing data, it has been clear to me that the pattern of what people watch on TV provides a pretty accurate personal identifier. A fingerprint, if you like, that enables a reliable means of determining who is watching.

Back in my days in mobile telecoms, we found that calling circles were enormously powerful identifiers, particularly helpful if you are tracking down nefarious activity.

As data privacy regulation increases and the third-party cookie disappears, targeted advertising in digital media is under pressure. A lot of activity is going on to find alternative ways of identifying and tracking consumers in order to deliver relevant advertising and minimise wasted advertising spend.

We have found that one of the benefits of first party viewing data is that, without compromising any consumer data privacy, it helps identify unique users and also enables household composition to be better understood.

Another key area that viewing data and analytics helps solve with the loss of third-party cookies is in powering contextual targeting. Contextual targeting enables Advertisers to reach audiences based on context or categories of interest. This is re-emerging as an increasingly popular choice for advertisers seeking to provide a positive user experience for potential customers.

For Advertisers seeking a targeted, effective yet brand safe environment, I believe that the most attractive media in the coming years will be Addressable TV. Addressable TV spend is forecast to grow significantly and I believe marketing budgets will migrate into this medium at a faster rate as it offers an ID-driven, trusted type of advertising and, according to research, the media most likely to lead to a purchase.

However, success in addressable TV advertising will depend on the accuracy of targeting. That’s what ‘addressable’ means. Without this, it’s just standard, broadcast TV advertising.