How Addressability Works in Streaming TV

Tyler Taylor, Senior director, central operations and exchange growth
Addressability enables marketers to leverage digital signals to message audiences directly and more accurately measure marketing outcomes. Tyler Taylor, senior director of central operations and exchange growth at Index, shares more about how addressability works in streaming TV and its importance.

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Understanding addressability in streaming TV

Addressability enables marketers to increase their campaign reach, and control frequency—or the number of times an individual sees an ad—against specific streaming TV audiences. 

There are several examples of data that can be used for targeting in streaming TV, including viewership-based data, publisher first-party data, marketer CRM data, and other off-the-shelf third-party demographic data.

Addressability powers campaign performance measurement and optimization against real business outcomes. Audience identifiers are necessary to connect an individual’s commercial campaign exposure to specific digital or offline actions that they take.

Digital events, such as visiting a brand’s website, signing up for a service, or making a purchase online, can be measured. Offline outcomes, such as purchasing a vehicle, visiting a retail location, or making an incremental in-store purchase, can also be measured by linking to some common identifier (like a hashed or anonymized email address or phone number).

Addressability in streaming TV today

Let’s take a look at exactly how addressability works in streaming TV. Today, there are a few ways to link consumers and devices. 

The most common form of addressability in streaming TV is through the identifier for advertising, or the IFA. With a fragmented streaming TV ecosystem, and viewers accessing content through a range of devices and apps, not to mention the lack of cookie support, there was a need for a standardized software-based identifier which allows for consumer privacy and opt-out. 

The IAB Tech Lab developed guidelines for the IFA and its usage in programmatic transactions to solve these challenges and enable addressability in streaming TV. The IFA is a unique value that isn’t based on a hardware-specific ID and doesn’t contain any personally identifiable information. 

Device and app owners share the IFA through the bid request along with the IFA type parameter—which identifies the source of the IFA, whether it’s from the device, publisher, app, SSP, or session—and the consumer opt-out preferences signaled through the limit ad tracking parameter. Essentially, the IFA functions similarly in streaming as it does in mobile environments.

The next most common form of addressability in streaming is leveraging device graphs, which are mainly built from IP addresses, device IDs, or other digital identifiers, depending on their availability on any given publisher’s request. Device graphs support the attribution of cross-device events, like when a consumer sees a streaming TV ad and signs up for the service on their mobile device through a QR code which lands them on the brand’s website. 

Since streaming TV apps typically connect through WiFi and TVs usually remain stationary, IP addresses for the most part tend to be pretty consistent for longer durations of time, enabling this style of addressability in connected TV.

The third most common form of addressability we see in streaming today is enabled by unified identifiers, linked to app- or content-specific login information. Many connected TVs and streaming apps encourage or require user authentication to begin consuming content. This means that a privacy-safe hashed email address is often available, which can be  used for building and mapping into unified graphs, such as LiveRamp’s RampID or Unified ID 2.0.

How to use deterministic and probabilistic identifiers

There are a number of ways that media buyers and sellers use deterministic and probabilistic identifiers to facilitate transactions in streaming TV. Sellers can sell specific audiences to buyers through deals, without exposing user identifiers to buyers. And buyers can target their audience lists across the open market or non-guaranteed deals. 

Alternatively, market participants can use clean rooms so that they can conduct transactions in a privacy-safe fashion that will still allow for targeting, frequency control, and measurement, while suppressing any potentially sensitive or proprietary information from the bidstream.

Future challenges to how addressability works in streaming TV

There are future challenges that await which may affect how we approach addressability. New privacy regulations could impact the use or availability of device identifiers or IP addresses used for marketing efforts. But we remain focused on our commitment to putting the consumer first for a privacy-friendly future, and will continue to remain agile as regulations or platforms evolve.

Needless to say, the world of addressability in streaming TV is moving rapidly. We’ll aim to keep you updated on critical changes and opportunities that develop along the way.

Thank you to Sarah Botherway, Catherine Cho, and Rob Hazan, who also contributed to this video. 

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