Editor’s note: Artie Bulgrin is EVP, strategy and insights, at market research firm MediaScience, New York. 

Much has been written about the lines blurring between TV’s role as high-reach, long-term brand builder and short-term targeted sales activation platform due to the growth of addressable TV households. According to the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), 54% of TV homes in the U.S. can receive targeted TV advertising and, as a result, addressable TV ad spending is projected to grow 33% in 2020 to $3.4 billion. 

The evolution of effective addressable consumer targeting means that television could deliver valuable business outcomes across the full marketing funnel – from brand awareness to sales activation – with many marketers focused on the latter. But seminal research from Binet and Field for the IPA Databank recommends a balanced approach between long- and short-term strategies of roughly 60/40 given that reach remains essential for long-term growth. With that being acknowledged, TV is certainly offering new value for marketers and the industry believes that addressable TV will deliver a deeper level of personalization resulting in greater relevancy and attention for TV advertising. But is this true from a scientific perspective? 

For the last decade, MediaScience has been testing the performance of TV/video advertising formats in both long-term and short-term messaging applications across traditional TV and digital platforms. This article will look at insights in five key areas, based on a series of controlled lab studies on category-based targeting. These may run counter to conventional wisdom, but are essential to understanding the value and limitations of addressable advertising.

It’s clear that consumers do not ignore ads from non-relevant categories, nor do they favor targeted ads from relevant categories. Ads for categories and brands consumers use may be easier to process or remem...