How to Reach The Unreachables Through Advertising

The UnreachablesSince the dawn of television, brands have used the platform to successfully deliver their messages directly to viewers' homes. From small, local businesses to global organizations, television advertising has been a staple of the traditional media mix for brands for generations. But over the past decade, TV consumption has changed dramatically — especially among one particular group.

The Challenge of the Unreachables

Coined by Heart & Science CEO Scott Hagedorn as "the unreachables" in a Wall Street Journal article, a significant portion of millennials and Gen Xers are shying away from traditional means of consuming television. Instead, these adults watch TV programs through apps on mobile devices and through streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

So while television is still an integral part of any multi-channel strategy, relying on traditional means of measurement is no longer an option. In fact, current TV measurement is missing a whopping 47 percent of the 22 to 25 age range — a bracket that, according to a joint study by Hearts & Science and Wharton University, accounts for trillions of dollars in spending power.

So, what can marketers do to better reach the unreachables through advertising?

Closing the Data Gap

The methodology used by advertisers and publishers to measure TV audiences and consumption rates were developed long before the mobile revolution, so it's really no surprise that it's no longer practical. However, change is on the horizon.

For example, media measurement giant Nielsen has developed the Nielsen Digital Content Ratings Software Development Kit (SDK), which accurately measures streaming via over-the-top (OTT) devices like Roku or AppleTV, browsers and mobile apps.

However, the offering requires publishers to integrate code on every single platform, app and device they support — at their own expense. Until media buying and planning demands change, it's unlikely publishers will make the effort to adopt SDKs.

In the meantime, there are two things you can do:

  • Become a champion for SDKs. Instead of accepting these measurement gaps as inevitable, marketers will need to take publishers to task. The greater the demand for data about the unreachables, the more likely publishers will be to integrate SDKs.
  • Prepare for identity-based marketing. Marketers today have access to an astonishing amount of data. By marrying online data with offline behaviors, brands can build more complete dossiers of their customers. If you make an effort to harness and understand your data now, you'll be better prepared for a future of more sophisticated identity-based marketing.

While measuring the unreachables is still a challenge, change is imminent. As a marketer, staying up to date on the evolution of audience measurement will help you prepare to overtake your competitors in the near future.

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