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'Cord Cutting' Requires Marketers to Walk a Fine Line

The digital marketing industry is full of statistics that can make most advertisers drool.

Smartphone use, instant messaging, and social media continue to grow at a rapid pace, providing attractive marketing opportunities. At the same time, streaming television, or "cord cutting," is producing its share of powerful statistics. However, marketing through the channel presents a handful of challenges.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the statistic from eMarketer that claims this year cord cutters, or those individuals who view television through streaming services, including Roku and Apple TV, will total 22.2 million in the U.S. So reports TechCrunch. The figure is a 33.2% increase from an earlier estimate that said there would be 15.4 million cord cutters in the U.S. this year.

The news is a bitter pill for traditional television adverting and cable providers, but a potential bonanza for digital marketers. Cable and telecom companies, for example, lost an estimated 762,000 pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter of this year, reports the Los Angeles Times. With declining subscribers, advertising revenues dropped at Timer Warner, which caused a selloff of media stocks.

Disruption, of course, also creates opportunity. In the case of streaming services, digital marketers can potentially use consumers’ viewing habits to pitch targeted advertising. Yet, the undertaking can be challenging.

Netflix, which is one of the nation’s largest streaming services, illustrates this point. It has refused to pitch advertising to its viewers, which means the company is missing out on an estimated $2.29 billion in revenue annually, according to BGR.

Numerous studies have shown that viewers would dump Netflix in large numbers if the service started pushing advertising. For marketers, providing advertising to streaming television viewers is somewhat similar to pushing mobile and desktop content. With mobile and desktop advertising, brands risk alienating consumers and other business prospects if they push content that is overbearing and lacks value.

With that in mind, brands are constantly seeking ways to use web-based data to pitch only appropriate content to prospects. To that end, The Trade Desk has recently rolled out its Connected TV offering, which tracks data based on IP-addresses so that marketers can conduct targeted campaigns based on television viewing patterns as well as on first and third-party data.

The service taps into The Trade Desk’s data management platform in order to pitch ads through internet-enabled TVs, desktops and mobile devices, reports AdWeek.

The Trade Desk maintains that the service, which focuses on individual households, is scalable. It can retarget prospects with television advertisements after individuals view desktop or mobile ads. It can also use desktop or mobile ads to retarget individuals who have viewed ads on television.

Content providers can use television data to provide increased value to readers. For examples, home improvement retailers could pitch web-based content on topics based on recent home renovation shows that individuals may have watched or tourism organizations could pitch content to individuals who have watched travel shows.

The new Trade Desk service is being released as Comcast has disclosed statistics that are highly favorable for television advertising. In a recent study, Comcast’s ad-tech company FreeWheel found that people who watch streaming TV complete 98% of the video ads they’re served.

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