Nissan’s Tony Weeks On How Addressable TV Can Use Geo-Data

Addressable TV is increasingly ready for prime time by automotive companies, says Nissan Senior Media Manager Tony Weeks at JD Power’s AMR conference.

Mobile video is increasingly viewed as the main screen for capturing consumers by advertisers, but cable TV’s connection can’t be counted out. Addressable TV — the ability to target specific households with specific ads through the cable and satellite connections — is all about bringing the values of data-driven internet ads to the device that most people get their media from.

And in that sense, car companies are paying greater attention, said Tony Weeks, senior media manager for Nissan, during a panel discussion on the format during the JD Power Automotive Roundtable at the Bellagio Las Vegas last week.

“Traditional upper funnel communication is always going to be there,” Weeks told GeoMarketing following his appearance on stage. “But we can do more to connect the branding and buying messages from a global to a local level more than ever before. And addressable TV is an important tool in doing that.”

GeoMarketing: What’s the value of using addressable TV versus traditional broadcast advertising?

Tony Weeks: We can’t always know who our customers are. But we do have a really good ability to know who our in-market customers are, in terms of driving people to the showroom, or even catching people that may be considered two-year intenders. That’s where addressable comes in.

Addressable is important because buying a car is a big decision. In some cases, it’s an emotional decision, too. To have the ability to give consumers a TV execution from a creative standpoint, on the big screen in their house, and know that they’re in market is really critical. That’s where we see the big opportunity with addressable. The general approach of geotargeted advertising is often about delivering an ad to the right person at the right time. Is that the basic premise of what animates addressable?

Exactly. The goal is to give consumers a message that is relevant to them. If they are sitting down watching TV, and an ad comes on, you’re not probably asking for a long detailed walk around about a product. I would love that, but let’s respect customers, give them a tidbit, give them an option. They can go to it. I think it’s critical for us to make that kind of content available wherever the customer wants it.

Tackling Addressable TV at JD Power AMR: Tom Hagopian, VP, Data Strategy & Analytics, AT&T AdWorks; David Lai, Supervisor, Insight & Intelligence, Carat; Tony Weeks, Sr. Manager, Media, Nissan; Jessica Robine, Director, Advanced TV, Cadreon; Cindy Hamrick, Director of Marketing, Gulf States Toyota

How do you see the role for geo-data and location technology within addressable TV?

There’s definitely value today, especially in the Tier 2 and the Tier 3 space, where there’s a lot of opportunity for using location analytics. In the Tier 1 upper funnel space there’s definitely opportunity but it’s probably a little more nuanced. For example, if we have a brand activation in a certain area, then we naturally want to capture that local interest.

What’s the challenge of using location as a factor in supporting auto ads on addressable TV?

In the case of dealer associations, that’s where there’s probably going to be a little bit of education and making sure everyone’s okay because all dealers are fair and equitably treated. Geo-locating one dealership versus another, we have to be very careful and make sure we are being fair to everyone. But there’s definitely huge opportunity there, no doubt about it. The dealers are smart enough to know it’s a no-brainer.

The other big question on using location and addressable TV comes down to metrics. How do we know an addressable ad “works” in achieving its directive?

By definition, the beauty of addressable is that we can actually get down to the household level with targeted impressions. Ultimately, we can see, within a certain amount of time, who bought one vehicle or another vehicle in the Nissan lineup. That’s pretty powerful. We can do that with direct response and other tools, but that’s not always a luxury we have, because we’re not the final entity that sells the vehicle. But compared to other channels, it’s an easy sell once we show them the kind of conversion that we’re getting.

Addressable TV has evolved quickly over the past five years. Do you have any specific wishlist for additional advancements for this format?

Sure. One thing that was really interesting to me, as I’m learning more about it, is frequency. The frequency that we’ve seen for the campaigns is actually higher than I expected without hitting diminishing returns.

How well has addressable TV been performing for Nissan in general?

On average, we’re seeing the optimal ratings around three times per week. Normally, we’re looking at six times a month, so that’s more than we thought. The good thing is as we learn more about it, we can control the frequency of messages with addressable. That’s one thing I think we need to delve into and understand more.

The other one is basic reporting. It’s still relatively new and we use multiple partners, and the reporting analytics is not consistent across all of them, so it makes it a little tougher. If I could wave my magic wand now, I would turn it all to report exactly like our other digital channels so I would have more flexibility in making broader decisions across all platforms.

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David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.