What Personalized TV Means for Content Marketing

How long has it been since you were excited about watching commercials during a television broadcast? With the exception of the Super Bowl, probably never. Internet TV executives recognize the annoyance that commercials cause, and are banking on a personalized content experience becoming common the near future.

So, what does that mean for brands that rely on what Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt calls the “tyranny of the grid?” How can marketing executives pivot their focus—and their budgets—away from the rigidity of traditional TV and toward a more flexible model that allows for personalization? And what can marketers learn from the evolution of commercials, one of the oldest examples of content marketing?

The answers to those questions are still being written, and personalizing a user experience still poses a major challenge for marketers, regardless of the type of content they deliver. But a marketing team willing to start from the ground floor and create a campaign focused on a target audience can hit its mark.

Begin at the beginning

What happens during the planning of a typical content marketing campaign isn’t as important as what doesn’t happen: content promotion planning. Taking the time to plot promotion can do more than help target an audience; it can help steer content creation as well. The more you learn about your audience, the more detailed you can get with the content you offer your audience—and the more likely they’ll be to read, view and share.

Give audiences the power

There’s a reason you might not see a commercial for toilet bowl cleaner during a football game, or a car commercial during a children’s show broadcast: brands and buyers choose spots based on general audience. But because an Internet TV experience is much more customized—a viewer can choose the time, location and device—marketers can use data to determine who’s watching and what they care about.

Interactive commercials and customization services aren’t new anymore, but they can still be quite useful—especially if they collect data from viewers. Hulu’s Ad Swap program helps viewers decide which commercials they’re willing to sit through in order to get to the next portion of their favorite TV shows. It doesn’t remove commercials from the equation completely, but it does allow viewers to agree to the kinds of products and services they’re sold.

And the valuable data from all those choices can help brands determine if certain content is popular for a narrow demographic—say, for dads who love cars and watch cartoons with their kids.

The Internet is changing the way we watch TV, as well as the way we interact with a host of other content. Planning for the future of content consumption must include content promotion, and a personalized experience has already become valuable. What TV viewers demand now may have a profound effect beyond the screen—and marketers need to be ready for it.

Image credit: Kenn Wilson