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Will smart TVs lead to smarter advertising?

Will smart TVs lead to smarter advertising? Ryan Manchee

Grab a cigar; the next generation of TV ads is being born. They are a spitting image of their parents, but they've become more interactive, more engaging, and more digital.

Marketers rejoice. Consumers rejoice. Congratulations all.

What do these new ads look like?

Well, imagine I'm watching a TV show with my wife. There's a commercial break, and we see a trailer for the new Hunger Games movie. But this 30-second spot isn't just a regular commercial; hovering in one corner of the screen is the beacon of newness. A call-to-action -- use your remote to get more movie info. Do I grab the remote and interact? You bet your mockingjay I'm going to interact. Imagine the photo galleries, the character bios, and the movie synopsis. These new interactive ads could even offer up location-based messages that are customized just for me. Maybe there is an opportunity in the interactive ad to check showtimes at my local theater and have them texted to my smartphone.

Whatever channel you may be watching, whether live, time-shifted, or via video on demand, the ad will be delivered to the smart TV. The TV will recognize the commercial, match up the spot with a coordinating ad, and, as a consumer, you are now able to explore the ad further. For marketers, your TV reach is amplified by offering a ubiquitous opportunity for engagement. And best of all, the interactive ad is an HTML5 ad much like what you are running online and on mobile devices.

This is what the future of TV advertising looks like. If you are already going to see a 15-second or 30-second spot, why not have the opportunity to engage with the ad and dive in deeper? This is especially true when you are able to leverage your existing creative by reimagining it into another screen.

As consumers, we want personalization. In the digitally connected age, we expect relevance. We want experiences. We want entertainment. This on-demand generation is the marketers' new audience. This new audience is not everyone, but it could be anyone.

Marketers are getting on board with the idea of more customized ads. According to Econsultancy, more than one-third of digital marketers have pushed personalization to the top of their 2013 priorities. So why not offer up a way to get more out of what you've always gotten before -- TV commercials reborn? Now with a new opportunity to build a stronger, personalized relationship with your audience.

What did you just say to me?

Unless there is something compelling, consumers are not going to consume your ad. One of the nice things is that now you'll get immediate feedback that they don't like your ad. The magic around online advertising and the two-way communication the digital marketing industry raves about is finally available.

We can't define TV as just our television set anymore. We are watching more and more content on mobile devices. eMarketer estimates that we will spend more than five hours with digital media today and only 4.5 hours watching TV. So, is TV dying? Are we multitasking between screens more? Or are we looking for more ways to connect with content regardless of the screen?

To understand the next generation of TV commercials, let's look at the next generation of consumers, particularly kids who have a TV in their room -- the ultimate in teenage technological sophistication during my '90s teen years. The percentage of kids with TVs in their rooms continues to decline, but don't worry -- these kids are still watching TV. They just now all have iMacs, iPads, and iPhones to deliver their video content.

But what if we can make our TVs smarter? What if they are connected? There are millions of households with smart TVs already today that are being left underutilized. And by 2017, nearly a half billion connected smart TVs will be in the homes of the 7.4 billion people on earth.

So what's holding this back? Sure -- there needs to be more connected TVs, more people actually connecting these TVs, and improved multiscreen ad tech to help marketers deliver ads to consumers. The stars are starting to align on these, but what needs to happen most is marketers need to embrace this change and create some incredibly unique and engaging ad experiences for consumers.

May the odds be ever in your favor, marketers.

Ryan Manchee is the director of innovation strategy at DG MediaMind. Co-author John Douglas is the product marketing leader for converged media services at DG.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

I lead a team of specialized innovation strategists focused on emerging technologies and multi-screen marketing trends. The Digital Innovations team educates and inspires Centro's 500+ agency and brand clients and our internal teams on innovative...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Hongrui Li

2014, January 16

Yes, actually today when we talk about TV, we are talking about the video on multi-screens via different delivery channels (Cable, IP, Internet).

Based on the current industry eco-environment, to achieve smart TV ads or targeted TV ads, there may two major ways: 1) use some techs, such as ACR, and cooperate with smart ends; 2) directly cooperate with video publishers or operator, like IRIS TV?

I am from China OTT industry, look forward to talking all of you about this amazing field.

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