Advertisers and companies trying to expand their marketing, take heed: There’s a new way to reach customers, starting with something called “advanced television.”

That’s when advertising on television is customized, much like online ads, using consumers’ viewing habits, purchases, and location data.

Advanced advertising on TV was one of the insights that the Philadelphia ad agency Harmelin Media shared with clients at a Wednesday event.

“Consumer data is now being matched with viewership data to follow your audience wherever they live,” Harmelin Media’s Dan Cox, vice president and head of planning, told the crowd of about 100 guests at the Barnes Foundation’s auditorium.

For example, cable and satellite providers such as Comcast and DISH network now show highly customized TV ads to one household that owns a cat, while a different ad broadcasts at the same time to a household next door owning a dog, based on credit card data, GPS phone location data, and other tracking data, he said.

Currently, advanced TV advertising is only 3 percent of the United States’ $70 billion in total ad spending per year, but it’s expected to grow exponentially.

Audio marketing is also changing, with terrestrial radio still accounting for four hours per day of consumers’ time, said Brooke Reynolds, Harmelin media manager. While AM/FM radio accounts for 50 percent of listeners’ time, online music services such as Pandora and Spotify have grown to 16 percent of the audio market, she said. Spotify is more popular with the 18-to-34-year-old demographic, while Pandora and its subsidiary SoundCloud are more popular with older listeners.

Podcasts represent only 4 percent of the audio advertising market, and “it’s been hard for advertisers to break in until recently,” she added. “That said, podcast listeners tend to be consumers with incomes over $100,000 annually.”

Mobile phones, meanwhile, have since replaced TV as the most valuable source of consumer data, said Garry Herbert, associate media director at Harmelin.

“We’re now incapable of giving up our phones, because of the dopamine rush” every time we access them, he said.

For advertisers, this is a bonanza.

“Our phones reveal where we go, what we do, what we buy, how frequently we visit a retailer, and how long we spend buying,” he said.

As a result, even digital billboards are growing, as ad agencies can pinpoint the phone locations of commuters. Advertising dollars spent on digital billboards reached $8 billion in 2018, up 5 percent from the prior year, said Alison Bolognese, media director at Harmelin.

“Cell phone companies collect this data and sell it so we can plan and measure” who sees company ads, she added. “For example, we can identify people who’ve been to a Wawa in the past three months.”

This July 16, 2013, file photo, shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Ben Margot / AP
This July 16, 2013, file photo, shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Among phone apps, five of the top 10 applications are social-media apps, including YouTube, Facebook, and SnapChat.

The over-34-year-olds primarily use Facebook, while 18-to-34-year-olds use Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, said Glenn Bernard, associate media director.

YouTube and Facebook now have about the same reach to consumers as TV, he said.

In the Internet search space, Google is far and away the leader, with 81 percent of search used on all devices. Bing and Yahoo are only in the single-digit percentages.

However, Google is followed closely by Amazon, which many consumers use as a retail search engine for price comparisons, he said.

Finally, voice search is predicted to be a high-growth advertising channel, with 118.5 million active smart speakers now owned by Americans, up from 66.7 million in 2017. Over half of U.S. household smart-speaker owners bought more than one. Amazon owns 65 percent of the smart-speaker market share.

In digital advertising revenue overall, Amazon “still trails Facebook and Google’s duopoly,” Bernard said, with the latter two giants holding 57.7 percent of the market in 2018. However, Amazon’s “wealth of consumer data will allow it to contend with the duopoly, turning it into a triopoly.”

Top advertisers with Amazon include Comcast, Progressive, AT&T, Purina PetCare, Geico, and American Express.