5 years of AdSmart, the implications of higher specificity in Marketing

Have you ever wondered why you keep seeing furniture adverts after you’ve just moved? Or an advert for your beloved German Shepherd’s favourite food? Well you might have been watching an advert from AdSmart. The addressable TV technology recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. This article will explore how and why higher specificity is beginning to take over the TV advertising marketplace.

Same Programme, Same Time, Different Adverts    

AdSmart allows businesses to completely customise their target audience. When this selected audience watches TV, the technology will play an advert customised for those viewers. About a third of advertisers use location-based targeting. This allows advertisers to choose an audience by region, postcode or “Geo-flex”. As the above picture shows “Geo-flex” permits businesses to define their own catchment area by such parameters as drivetime. Household characteristics are also used as a common form of targeting. These can range from whether a household contains technology lovers, pets or business executives.         

Is it Smart to AdSmart?


With AdSmart, advertisers no longer have to track their audiences by channel or time. The technology means that if your audience is watching the advert will play. The ability for advertisers to target niche audiences is especially useful for those with smaller budgets.

Higher Advert Engagement

According to Sky, advertising with AdSmart can increase emotional response by up to 22% when comparing this to linear TV. Alongside this, audiences were also on average 21% more attentive whilst the advert was on screen. These are both key factors in driving long term ROI.

Frequency Capping

AdSmart has the potential to limit the number of times a viewer sees a particular advert. We all have that one advert that we just can’t get out of our heads!! Frequency capping can be helpful for businesses to limit losses from diminishing returns. Again, this is beneficial for ROI. 


Increased specificity does however come at an increased cost when compared to linear TV. Advertising with AdSmart typically costs twice as much as its linear counterpart for the same number of TVRs.

Incremental Uplift

Although AdSmart can definitely benefit a brand, attributing an accurate figure to the technology can be a challenge. Without further testing, it can be difficult to distinguish the effects compared to linear TV.


Targeting a specific audience limits your audience reach. Using other channels such as linear TV and VoD can potentially solve this issue. In fact, Sky has reported that combining AdSmart with linear TV increased awareness by an average of 22%.

SodaStream – that was an Eighties thing…

The beauty of addressable TV is businesses of all shapes, sizes and objectives can benefit from an advertising channel that has traditionally had a mass-market approach.

SodaStream is one such company. Being able to target audiences located around a number of stores where its product was being tested helped drive brand awareness. As a result, this business that had seemingly “gone flat” overdelivered on its targeted sales.

Gasway is another example. An East Anglian heating company who decided to use AdSmart as their first venture into TV. They were focused on boosting their installation service through targeting local households that fitted particular characteristics. Using AdSmart allowed the company to grow revenue by 35% year-on-year, according to Sky.

Barclays unlike the other companies is no stranger to TV. Their objectives were aimed at trying to access hard to reach viewers in the face of rising competition. Combining linear TV with AdSmart, Barclays were able to see increases within this hard to reach category.

The Future

This summer, Sky have signed two major clients to AdSmart: Virgin Media and Channel 4. With just Virgin Media onboard, around 40% of the TV population in UK will be covered by this form of addressable TV. Add in Channel 4 and approximately half of the £5bn a year advertising market is using AdSmart.

These two endorsements show addressable TV is definitely here to stay. Both new clients expand not only the physical size of AdSmart but the diversity in potential characteristics on offer. In particular Channel 4 hosts the treasured Great British Bake Off which could be a real “Star Baker” for AdSmart…

The Brightblue team have decades of experience helping clients understand media efficiency by truly digging into the drivers of sales and revenue. We have experience across automotive, retail, travel, entertainment, telecoms, FMCG, white goods, financial services, health and many other sectors. Our unique way of modelling the entire client journey truly helps marketeers understand what they can do to shine in their organisation by driving business and making a real difference to their bottom line. Get in touch if you have any questions on this article or any of the ways Brightblue can help.

  • www.adsmartfromsky.co.uk/
  • www.virginmedia.com/corporate/media-centre/press-releases/virgin-media-and-sky-unveil-uk-launch-date-for-adsmart-partnership
  • www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/channel-4-talks-join-skys-adsmart/1595271
  • www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/sky-confirms-channel-4-will-join-adsmart/1625067
  • AdSmart: Five Years & Forward

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