1. Geo-targeting: The next big thing in TV advertising?

Geo-targeting: The next big thing in TV advertising?

Idea still in its infancy in India, but can help broadcasters tap more advertisers

By: | Mumbai | Published: October 30, 2016 6:20 AM
TV is the lowest cost per reach but ironically the most expensive medium because there is a huge amount of wasted spillover and reach, so it’s a big opportunity with regard to higher effectiveness. (Representative Image) TV is the lowest cost per reach but ironically the most expensive medium because there is a huge amount of wasted spillover and reach, so it’s a big opportunity with regard to higher effectiveness. (Representative Image)

With TV being the most popular mass medium, every advertiser wants to pick up some airtime. But with every region having its own purchase behaviour and market adoption of various products, there has been an urgent need to allow an advertiser to segment communication in a region of their choice. But the question remains, how does one bring region-targeted advertising to television?

Over the years, companies like Amagi, Vubites (acquired by Rediff) and Adsharp (from Star India) have been trying to tap into a much wider pool of advertisers and expand the ad pie through geo-targeting on various channels. An innovative method of enhancing the value of available ad inventory, it allows advertisers to air different ads on the same channel in different regions to maximise the impact and reduce costs.

Baskar Subramanian, co-founder, Amagi Media Labs, highlights, “Initially, we thought the biggest need would be from smaller businesses, which have a regional distribution process. But interestingly, even larger businesses were looking at India with regional cuts rather than as a single market.”

As a result, several national brands, especially large FMCGs, are using geo-targeting for communication and it is starting to become a part of the media planning cycle. However, the journey has just begun and there are issues to be ironed out and apprehensions to be cleared.

Broadcasters, for instance, have remained sceptical of geo-targeting and are sitting on the fence, feeling that it may cannibalise into, or reduce spends from some of its national advertisers, resulting in them limiting this targeted approach to a handful of channels in their network.

But that doesn’t mean broadcasters have no advantage. With the help of players like Amagi, networks like Zee, Viacom18 are today able to split the feeds on the channels and insert target ads, commanding better premiums.

Advertisers pick and choose inventory in specific markets on Zee TV, Zee Cinema and Zee News, paying different amounts for different markets, resulting in a win-win, where the sum of parts is 20-30% higher than the whole.

TV is the lowest cost per reach but ironically the most expensive medium because there is a huge amount of wasted spillover and reach, so it’s a big opportunity with regard to higher effectiveness.

Idea is among the brands that has used geo-targeted advertising, through split beam technology on television for an ATL campaign on the launch of its 3G network in Delhi last year. “With all channels covered in the national plan, taking the geo approach to increase GRPs in a market is multiplying frequency rather than increasing reach in that market. However, for regular campaigns to drive brand growth or product sales, frequency more than the optimal number is a waste. South/east markets can already be insulated so this approach is limited to HSM (Hindi Speaking Markets),” explains an Idea Cellular spokesperson.

At the moment it seems like everybody is experimenting but it can work in India if it’s done quantitatively. Clients are treating it as a test, because if you want them to put in serious monies, you want it measured and need concrete data.

Addressing this, Amagi Media Labs recently partnered with BARC India, wherein TV networks offering geo-targeted split of their national channels, including national and regional feeds, will be monitored on a separate basis and will be listed across BARC India’s interfaces. This can help Amagi’s advertisers evaluate their national geo-targeted ad-campaigns.

Keeping aside the current challenges — fewer channels and even lesser inventory available for geo-targeting — the fact is remains that it is here to stay.

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