Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Using the internet to snychronize television and IPTV advertising

Bellman, S., O'Farrell, J., Qiu, L., Murphy, J. and Varan, D. (2010) Using the internet to snychronize television and IPTV advertising. In: The Direct/Interactive Marketing Research Summitt, 9 - 10 October 2010, San Francisco, CA


The “footprints” left by consumers on the Internet help advertisers to target Web banner ads, and thereby increase their efficiency (showing ads to only the right people) and their effectiveness (e.g., click-through). The efficiency and effectiveness of Internet advertising has siphoned advertising budgets away from television advertising. Addressable TV advertising, that is, sending different commercials to different households, watching the same network at the same time, has the potential to arrest this decline. Addressable TV provides a win-win scenario for advertising buyers and sellers, and also for consumers, who would see only personally-relevant advertising. Ads that are relevant are less likely to be avoided by, for example, fast-forwarding. Yet barriers stand in the way of using Internet data to target TV commercials, not least privacy concerns. We report the latest results from a series of empirical “proof of concept” studies exploring how monitoring a person’s Internet activity could be used to target television advertisements, and whether this “Internet synchronization” can increase the effectiveness of TV ads by reducing ad avoidance. These studies use laboratory experiments to tightly control measures of current product category relevance, based on Internet behavior, and TV ad avoidance, measured by the amount of time an ad is seen before it is fast-forwarded. The first of these studies tests the effectiveness of Internet-synchronized TV ads seen on a TV set, with a potentially realistic delay of half an hour between Internet browsing, recorded by, for example, a cable company’s Internet service, and TV ad exposure via the same cable company’s set-top box. Increasingly, though, TV content is being viewed on the Internet (IPTV), on PCs as well as on TVs. IPTV may allow the Internet-synchronization of TV ads to be almost instantaneous, as IPTV viewers may have two Internet browser tabs open simultaneously, a search engine and a TV network site. In our second study, we will investigate the difference instantaneous synchronization makes to the TV ad avoidance rate. We will also test the additional effectiveness of targeting based on search-engine keywords, rather than measures of Web browsing behavior, which we used in our first study (i.e., which Web pages are visited, and the time spent on these pages). Keywords may give a better insight into the long-term relevance of high-ticket-price products. In both studies, we investigate the moderating effect of product category on the efficacy of behavioral targeting. Because purchase situations for high-ticket products are rare, but interest in them endures, predictions of an ad’s current relevance are likely to be more accurate for low-ticket products. But the pay-off from Internet synchronization, increased ad effectiveness, may be greater for high-ticket products. Our results so far suggest that timely TV ad addressability improves efficiency by eliminating wastage and also increases effectiveness, by reducing ad avoidance. Whether these ads should be implemented, and even if they can be, are questions for debate. Although there are privacy concerns about profiling based on TV viewing behavior or Internet browsing behavior, both can be anonymous, similar to Web banner optimization. The main stumbling block for implementing Internet synchronization is the difficulty of integrating the various cable operator systems across the United States, which recently forced the abandonment of a nationwide roll-out of addressable TV advertising. Internet synchronization for IPTV ads is probably a lot simpler.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Interactive Television Research Institute
Item Control Page Item Control Page