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Breaking Down Addressable: Start Your Media Campaign with Your Core Target

By Dan Kelly

Let's face it: 2020 was brutal! But, as challenging as 2020 was, we are glad to see that audience-first buying is getting the importance that it deserves.

DISH Media has been in the addressable space since its conception in 2012, and since then we have seen the slow adoption of addressable utilization as brands and agencies have started to understand that data-driven solutions bring unmatched efficiency to their campaigns.

At the height of the pandemic, many advertisers backtracked and reverted back to the tried-and-true “spray-and-pray” method, hoping that linear scale alone would garner the results they needed to pivot during the crisis and keep their brands top of mind. Now as things slowly make their way back to normal, marketers are realizing that broad scale, without targeting, can only do so much for their campaigns. They need a more strategic approach that will eliminate waste and can prove out incremental growth, something addressable advertising does very well.

The key is to focus on who your core audience is and build a campaign strategy that holds them at the center. Marketers are starting their media campaigns with the true target consumer in mind instead of thinking of direct targeting as “innovation.” Addressable advertising is that core strategy and more and more marketers are realizing how easy and important it is.

Have Clear Objectives

Building a successful addressable campaign requires brands to know what their KPIs are and who their audience is. Are you looking to target specific age groups? Specific genders or geographic areas? Households with children or auto intenders? Current customers or looking to conquest and gain from your competitors? Knowing your goals will impact what information you will use to target your audience and impact which partners are necessary to bring on board to support your campaign. Remember, not all data is created equal.

In general, you want to make sure that you are partnering with vendors that are flexible and provide the cleanest datasets that can give you the most precision when building your segment. At DISH Media, we have first-party, deterministic subscriber data across our entire 9 million addressable household footprint on DISH and SLING TV, that we make available for all of our addressable campaigns. We are also data-partner agnostic, meaning that we have built relationships with all major data and measurement partners and are willing to work with whichever vendors our clients prefer. Whichever one will best help you achieve your KPIs, we will work with on your campaign.

Working with reliable data partners and using first-party data makes it easy to track post-campaign results and provides a level of transparency to tell advertisers where their ads ran and which of their KPIs have been met, whether that be website visits, sales lift, etc. Attribution is a cornerstone of addressable.

Common Misconceptions

One pervasive myth surrounding addressable is that by adding constraints through targeting you eliminate scale from your campaign. The reality is, when you focus in on the households that are most valuable to your brand, you don’t eliminate scale, you eliminate waste.

Enhancing your targeting with an audience-based approach means that you are not spending dollars on consumers that will not buy your product. You are not relying on people watching a precise network and a specific daypart that you chose for your campaign. With addressable, we guarantee to help you get the right message in front of the right audience no matter where they watch or what they are watching — we only target them while they watch.

Another common misconception is that addressable is just too expensive for buyers looking for effective reach. Many buyers will pay more attention to the initial price tag without recognizing what you get for the value of an addressable campaign. What often happens is a brand attempts to grow their reach in a more analog manner, increasing their spending on traditional linear hoping they might see a small bump in sales as a result. The data shows this strategy leads to advertisers spending more to reach the same people, leaving potential clients in the cold.

The problem with this strategy is that spending more money without having an audience-based targeting strategy does not guarantee impact. You don’t know if the extra houses you are hitting are within your target or wasted dollars. What good does reaching more households do if they are not going to buy your product?

That is why it is important to invest in targeting solutions that ensure your reach is to the households that you need and want, not just more waste.

Our Advice

Start your campaigns with your core target. Prioritize reaching the consumers that matter most to your brand. Then, if your budget allows, add in broad buys for big sporting events and must-watch shows to help boost those GRP goals. DISH Media has data-driven, target solutions that help marketers deliver their message to the households most likely to become their customers. Reach out, and let us know how we can help you build your most effective target.

Dan Kelly is general manager, ad sales, for Dish Media. He can be reached via email at


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