Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


The role of consumer data in channel management

By Craig Buckland, technical director, Broadcast Traffic Systems

As consumers look closer at household spending, ad-supported platforms are becoming more appealing to the consumer. Recent analysis suggests that revenue generated by ad-supported services in Europe is projected to double from 2021 to 2027. However, the success of the market depends on broadcasters’ ability to capture and retain audience share. Despite viewers growing more open to receiving advertisements in return for free content, they expect the ads that they are viewing to be relevant. If broadcasters or channel owners fail to get the balance right, then they risk losing subscribers. The risk of this happening can be avoided if broadcasters effectively leverage consumer data.  Audiences have high standards, and they have access to huge amounts of alternative content. For broadcasters, competition is high, and margin for error is low.

Understanding viewers is key

It is true that the amount of consumer data available to broadcasters and channel owners is greater now than ever before. However, data on its own is meaningless. It has to be analysed and converted into valuable actionable insight. Once this insight is available, it can be used to better understand viewers. When we know who the audience is and what sorts of products or services they may be interested in, it is possible to target content and ads more effectively. Viewers of healthy lifestyle content of a certain age, for example, will most likely be interested in health and fitness products, rather than fast food chain advertising. 

Building up a good understanding of who the viewer is, is key to personalising advertising, improving viewing experience, increasing brand loyalty, and opening up monetisation options.

Importance of personalisation

With a growing desire for personalisation among consumers, broadcasters need to work to ensure that they tailor their services to meet viewers’ needs. Broadcasters also need to ensure that channels are designed to include relevant content which is presented in the best format and structure for the audience. As viewers’ expectations for personalised content continue to grow, considerations around how, when and what content is scheduled and distributed becomes increasingly crucial. Audience demographics help channel owners ensure they have this right from the offset, and ongoing analytics are critical for continual monitoring. Targeted ads help to increase engagement because viewers are less likely to switch to a different channel or platform mid ad break if the products being featured are of interest to them. 

It is worth noting, however, that personalising ads is not without its challenges. Swapping non targeted ads out for targeted content can sometimes be difficult because ads are of a variable length, and ads created for linear channels are often part of a combination of ads or promotions. Swapping or moving those types of ads causes knock on issues later in the schedule. Sometimes, slots within an ad break may go unfilled, which means not all ads in the break will be targeted. 

If a broadcaster is successful in personalising ad breaks, then as well as increasing engagement, viewing experience will also be improved. 

Improved viewing experience

If the advertising content is more relevant, the viewing experience naturally becomes more enjoyable. According to one study, viewing experience is impacted not just by the relevance of the ads, but also by the length of the ad breaks, ad load, and subscription fee. The study reports that if viewers feel that the number of ads during a show is unreasonable, their viewing satisfaction reduces. As would be expected, the study also showed that the viewers who were most satisfied with the viewing experience were those who felt that the ads were about products that matched their interests.

It is also widely accepted that improved viewing experience also helps to increase customer loyalty, which is an important factor in any market, but particularly so in a highly competitive market.

Increased monetisation options

The availability of advanced audience analytics such as planned audience numbers and audience demographics helps broadcasters to sell advertising spots at the highest rate. Advertisers are willing to pay a higher rate for ad placement when analytics can be used to verify they can maximise revenue from their ad sales. Broadcasters need this high-level customer data to enable ad campaigns to be optimised and coordinated across channels and platforms. Consumer data ensures that the right audience is targeted at the right time. 

Access to reliable consumer analytics also opens up monetisation options such as increased advertising sales, channel sponsorship and programme sponsorship. 

Leveraging audience analytics

In order to manage a channel effectively and maximise both viewing experience and monetisation opportunities, broadcasters and channel owners need to know their audience well. To know an audience well, audience analytics need to be collected, analysed and leveraged on a continual basis.