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Cookieless Targeting in Connected TV

Updated: May 15

As Connected TV (CTV) continues redefining how audiences consume content, marketers face unique challenges and opportunities to reach their target audiences. One key aspect distinguishing CTV advertising from traditional digital advertising is the absence of cookies, which forces marketers to adopt innovative approaches to identify and engage consumers. This evolving landscape allows marketers to understand new targeting methodologies, including using IP addresses and household device graphs to effectively reach consumers across multiple devices.

The Evolving Landscape of CTV

Connected TV has emerged as a dominant platform for video consumption, combining the immersive experience of traditional television with the interactivity and targeting potential of digital advertising. However, unlike web browsers and mobile apps, where cookies exist to track user behavior and deliver targeted ads, CTV operates without cookies, presenting a challenge for advertisers accustomed to cookie-based targeting.

Overcoming the Absence of Cookies

Advertisers must pivot to other means of identifying and targeting audiences on CTV without cookies. In this landscape, deterministic and probabilistic approaches are the primary methodologies for audience identification.

Deterministic Targeting: This approach relies on explicit user data, such as login information or subscriptions, to identify and target users. This method offers high accuracy but often comes with limited scale, as not all CTV platforms require user accounts.

Probabilistic Targeting: This method utilizes non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) such as device type, IP address, and viewing habits to infer and target audiences. Probabilistic targeting offers a broader reach but may require more precision than deterministic methods.

The Role of IP Addresses in CTV Targeting

IP addresses are a foundational element in CTV targeting, enabling advertisers to identify and reach consumers at the household level. Unlike mobile devices or web browsers, where individuals are usually identified separately, CTV devices typically share a single IP address within a household, providing a unique opportunity to target an entire households rather than individual users.

Household-Level Targeting: IP-based targeting allows advertisers to focus on households, enabling personalized ad delivery to all connected devices within a home. This approach is precious for campaigns targeting family-oriented products or services, where reaching multiple household members is beneficial.

Geolocation Targeting: IP addresses also provide a means for geolocation targeting, allowing advertisers to tailor ads based on users' geographic locations. Geo-targeting is especially useful for region-specific campaigns or businesses with a local presence looking to attract nearby customers.

Household Device Graphs: A Unified View of Consumers

Marketers leverage household device graphs to enhance further targeting accuracy, which maps out the various devices connected to a single household. These graphs provide a unified view of consumer behavior across different devices, enabling advertisers to deliver cohesive messaging and understand cross-device engagement patterns.

Cross-Device Targeting: Household device graphs allow marketers to identify and target consumers who are switching between devices, ensuring consistent ad delivery and reinforcing brand messages across multiple touchpoints. For example, consumers might start watching a show on their CTV and continue it on their tablet or smartphone. With a household device graph, advertisers can maintain continuity in their messaging, improving the overall consumer experience.

Sequential Messaging: By understanding the relationships between devices, marketers can implement sequential messaging strategies, serving ads in a specific order across different devices. This approach helps guide consumers through the buyer's journey, creating a more tailored and practical advertising experience.

Conversion Tracking: Tracking conversions across devices poses a significant challenge, especially given that CTV devices are typically not used for completing conversions like purchases. Instead, a viewer may see an ad on a CTV device and later use a mobile phone or laptop to make a purchase. This delay and device switch necessitates advanced cross-device tracking technologies to attribute conversions to the initial CTV ad exposure accurately. Marketers use household device graphs and cross-device tracking technologies to link the interaction with an ad on a CTV to subsequent actions on other devices within the same household. 

Privacy Considerations in CTV Targeting

As with any digital advertising, privacy remains critical in CTV targeting. Advertisers must balance the desire for personalized advertising with consumer privacy expectations and regulatory requirements.

Data Anonymization: Many CTV platforms use anonymized data to protect user privacy while enabling effective targeting. Advertisers can deliver relevant ads without compromising individual privacy by focusing on non-PII data and leveraging household-level insights.

The Future of CTV Targeting

The cookie-less nature of CTV presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers. As technology evolves, so will the methodologies for targeting consumers on CTV. Innovations such as AI-driven audience segmentation, enhanced device fingerprinting, and improved cross-device tracking will continue to shape the future of CTV targeting, offering marketers new ways to connect with audiences.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is poised to play a significant role in CTV targeting, enabling more sophisticated audience segmentation and personalized ad delivery. AI can identify patterns and predict consumer behavior by analyzing vast data, allowing for highly targeted advertising campaigns.

Enhanced Device Fingerprinting: Device fingerprinting, which identifies devices based on their unique characteristics, offers a promising avenue for CTV targeting. As this technology improves, it will provide marketers with more accurate and reliable ways to identify and target consumers.

Improved Cross-Device Tracking: Cross-device tracking is a crucial focus for the future of CTV targeting, with efforts underway to create more seamless and accurate tracking across different devices. Improved tracking will enable marketers to deliver consistent and cohesive messaging as consumers navigate between their CTVs, smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices.

Wrapping Up

Targeting available in Connected TV offers marketers unique challenges and opportunities. In a cookie-less environment, IP addresses and household device graphs provide practical ways to identify and reach consumers across different devices. By leveraging these methodologies and staying attuned to future innovations, marketers can create highly targeted and effective CTV campaigns that resonate with audiences and drive results. The key lies in balancing precision targeting with consumer privacy and continuously adapting to the evolving CTV landscape.

What to learn more? Contact us to discover how SpotlightIQ can immediately impact your CTV & video campaigns.


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