Sky’s addressable TV technology, AdSmart, has just turned five years old – and its scale is only growing.

Revolutionary at its launch in 2014, AdSmart works by dynamically inserting ad copy into the linear TV feed across all Sky and Virgin homes. It is targeted down to a household level, with ads only shown in homes deemed the most suitable for each campaign.

AdSmart’s portfolio – and therefore potential reach – now stands at 9.1 million homes in the UK. And this month, after much speculation, it was announced that Channel 4’s portfolio will also become available on the platform.

2019 has been the strongest year to-date for AdSmart, having acquired Virgin homes (from 1st July) – and adding Channel 4 will increase the offering significantly. A launch date is yet to be set, but this is one to look forward to for 2020 and beyond.

Over the last five years, AdSmart has already grown in scale, and in that time has delivered 17,000 campaigns for over 1,800 advertisers.

Earlier this year Sky released its whitepaper “AdSmart: Five Years and Forward”, alongside Differentology, which sets out the journey so far – as well as being what Sky describe as “the most comprehensive research into the UK addressable TV market ever”.

The research, based on 100+ individual campaigns, found an increase of 35% in ad engagement for AdSmart campaigns, as well as a 48% reduction in channel-switching – which makes sense considering ads are served into households deemed most relevant for their product, or brand. Additionally, brands are 14% more likely to be talked about when AdSmart is used. Once again this makes sense as you are targeting through proven data metrics.

A watch-out is that, while AdSmart offers data-level targeting far beyond that of the broad audiences traded via linear TV campaigns, there are still some limitations to its targeting capabilities. For example it is only possible to target at a household level, meaning reaching a specific individual within that household cannot be guaranteed.

Alongside this, reporting is limited compared to linear TV, and comes directly from Sky rather than a third-party. However, while not at the standard of TV, it is similar to that provided for broadcaster VOD (BVOD) campaigns, widely used in the industry.

But the proposition can be used to a brand’s benefit. Data sharing in particular provides more advanced levels of targeting, giving advertisers the opportunity to discount customers who have already converted as a result of a campaign, or even the ability to target those who are known to be in-market or close to converting.

AdSmart might not replace linear TV any time soon, but as a product which can reach 30 million individuals, and rising, with only the most relevant product messaging, it can take a targeted campaign to the next level.

As its scale increases, and as the product itself improves, we are seeing an even stronger offering: the Sky really is the limit.

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