With streaming, TV advertising is getting more targeted than ever

    Cars.com is making a move that gives a glimpse of where the ad business may be heading. The online auto finder used to do the lion’s share of its marketing through TV ads aimed at any and all consumers, including running commercials during the Super Bowl.

    But early this year, The Wall Street Journal reports, the company tried a new approach—pausing all traditional TV ads and running commercials on streaming-TV platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV. On those platforms, Cars.com could use heaps of audience information to advertise only to those people who were in the market for cars.

    Targeting ads so precisely is a choice that many companies are making. And it’s beginning to have big effects on the advertising industry.

    Driving this trend is a combination of factors that are finally coming together to make precise targeting of a wide audience possible. The streaming platforms, traditional pay-TV providers and third-party firms are giving advertisers access to robust technology and granular data about viewers, such as income levels, purchase history and web-browsing behavior.

    At the same time, unlike earlier stabs at targeted TV, marketers can use the streaming platforms to reach a larger and more geographically diverse group of people across the U.S.

    As a result, companies are shifting more of their budgets from traditional TV to those streaming platforms and elsewhere, where they can craft marketing campaigns aimed at very precise demographics. In some cases they also can rethink their campaigns on the fly and quickly make changes. Read the full story.

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