Addressable advertising

I read an interesting piece over at Marketing Magazine the other day. It discusses cable company Cogeco and their move into “addressable advertising” next year in a pilot scheme throughout limited households.

If you’re not familiar with addressable advertising, it’s the method of using far more targeted ads based on location and demographics. So, certain areas may be more affluent while other areas may be more working class.

What Cogeco’s aiming to do, via their pilot on local cable channel CHCH, is to test out targeted advertising and send out ads that are geared to someone’s specific address.

So, for example, someone living in an affluent are of the Golden Horseshoe – the area of south Ontario, Canada, where the scheme will be piloted – will see ads for luxury cars. Those living in a less affluent area will see ads for minivans or compact cars.

The goal is clear – if people are to buy something, they’re more likely to buy what’s in their cash range.

Targeted or Taking Aim?

It’s a great idea – although I’m not too sure if closing your potential customers off by ignoring them due to current financial status is a great idea. Everyone has aspirations, right? And what better way to aim for a goal than seeing something to aim toward (like a more luxurious car, or nicer home, or bigger vacation)?

There’s also the problem of the demographics. Just because someone lives in an affluent area doesn’t necessarily mean they are affluent. They could be working their asses off to pay the higher mortgage, and have little-to-no fluid cash.

Additionally, is the affluent neighbourhood made up primarily of younger people, or the “reward year boomers”? The latter category are people that have worked their lives to become affluent and now have time to relax and enjoy their savings. So they’d be perfect – but if that’s just a small part of the audience, will addressable advertising be successful?

Without seeing exactly how the company putting the plan together for Cogeco has come up with their information, it’s hard to say. Using Invidi’s Advatar system, it may be that they have all the information they need for the pilot to be a success. While the system looks perfect for showing when a TV is on and what’s being watched, it’s less clear how demographics and spend power is determined.

Of course, one of the ways Cogeco (and others like them) could really target an audience (along with the addressable advertising platform) is to combine the project with social media.

People, People, and More People

Because social media is such a perfect tool for not only messaging your target audience, but actually finding out if they’re in your sights to begin with, it makes perfect sense to combine the offline cable advertising with online and social network promotion and focus.


For example, using something as simple as Facebook Advertising can allow Cogeco and their partners to gauge how many people in their target audiences (affluent and otherwise) will be in the Golden Horseshoe area.

Facebook Advertising

If you base an ad on the cities that will be targeted (from Marketing Magazine’s article), then you have just over 917,000 people living in the Golden Horseshoe between 18-64 years of age (both sexes). But not a lot of 18-year olds will be affluent, so change that age to 30-64 and the audience drops to just over 600,000.

Let’s say it’s a sports car – that’s going to appeal primarily to men (sorry ladies!). Making the age between 30-50, and male demographics only, shows a return of just under 217,000 (quite the drop).

However, it shows that there’s the potential for a Facebook ad campaign to highlight what’s coming via CHCH (and at a far lesser cost than say, a print ad campaign or TV one). So, use a Facebook ad to drive traffic to a landing site that explains what the project is about, and get people to sign up there as well with more detailed information (including available spend power and likelihood of spending through targeted ads).


While the audience on Twitter is a lot less than Facebook (particularly in the demographics and locale that Cogeco is piloting), there are still 5,500 registered users on Twellow (the Twitter Yellow Pages).

But this is just for registered users. Go to Twitter Search and start using it for highlighting the areas of interest and what’s being said about ads over there, and it begins to give you a very focused look at the likelihood of certain ads working while others, not so much.

For instance, this tweet from Hassan Al-Ghareib popped up from a search I did on some terms that the addressable advertising audience might be interested in.

[blackbirdpie url=”″]

It complains about a new de-icing solution that obviously isn’t working (Canadian winters aren’t very car-friendly). So, if I’m an auto parts store, I know I may have an in there with Hassan and others like him. I find out where Hassan lives (Toronto area), do some more searches to see if others are having similar issues, and then make sure my ad runs in that locale. The fact that Hassan’s in marketing at Samsung helps, too, from a word-of-mouth viewpoint…

Oh, and using Twitter advertising to direct people like Hassan to the CHCH channel is just a simple addition to complement the addressable advertising.

And don’t forget you have the likes of YouTube (visual ads) and BlogTalk Radio (audio ads), as well as mobile advertising (a whole other topic of discussion and the perfect partner for social media). Add these guys into the mix and you really begin to get full-on addressable advertising.

It’ll be interesting to see how the pilot scheme from Cogeco works, and if the statistics – cost versus return for advertisers and awareness of consumers – will be shared. Hopefully they will – it’s a brave new path and one that deserves to work.

And with a little help from social media, it could have an even bigger return… Stay tuned!

image: Dreamer7112

Sign up for free weekly content

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a weekly email with the latest blog post, recommended reading, quick tips and more. I respect your privacy and will never spam you.

(Be sure to check your Inbox to confirm subscription - thanks!)

Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:

11 Comments on "Where Addressable Advertising Can Benefit from Social Media"

4 years 3 months ago

I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie ‘Minority Report’, but it shows the future of this very shift in advertising. Using NFC-style technology (near field communication), advertisements, just as posters in a subway terminal, direct their advertising message based on the individual; ads address you by name, know what kinds of products and services you’ve been seeking, etc.

Cogeco may or may not succeed with their latest campaign, but I think the bigger picture revealed in the story is a glimpse into the future of targeted advertising. Thanks for pointing this one out, dannybrown

4 years 3 months ago

@JonHearty As long as no criminals are watching CHCH, and trying to avoid their name being said every time they switch on ;-)

4 years 3 months ago

Danny, good for Cogeco for trying this out. It might end up failing (I think it will do quite well, as long as they do integrate with social media, as you mentioned), but this is better than remaining stagnant, and winding up like the newspaper business. Very innovative on their part. Good catch!

4 years 3 months ago

@JohnnyRusso Agree, mate, nice to see someone (especially a TV / “traditional media” channel) go for the more targeted approach as opposed to the “throw enough and see what sticks” method.

4 years 3 months ago

At first blush, this seems like it’d be REALLY expensive. But I like that they’re beginning to think of laser targeting specific audiences. It’s not happening in the Windy City so you’ll have to keep us updated on what you see!

4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich troy claus Get on the case, stat, Gini – time to start the global takeover. Use Chicago for the test area ;-)

4 years 3 months ago

@DannyBrown troy claus Sigh…it’s not ME you’re ahead of! It’s Mayor Daley!

4 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich What – I’m ahead of you again, Gini. Oh dear… ;-)

Yeah, it’d be interesting to gather costs versus eyeballs versus success rates. Maybe that’s a job for Santa, AKA troy claus :)

4 years 3 months ago

This is an extremely interesting view Danny. Good catch. Thanks!

4 years 3 months ago

YouTube ads are something I see a lot of people turning to these days, I really don’t know too about them, but I think you can target your audience with keyword that are related to your niche.
Blogtalk radio have ads running all the time before someone broadcast starts.

“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

4 years 3 months ago

@TrafficColeman Companies are definitely getting smarter when it comes to catching views, Coleman. Of course, the trick is then to convert, but at least you have a targeted “in” now.