For as long as anyone can remember, TV has been the best channel for marketers to get top-of-funnel awareness quickly. And while the thousands of brands that use TV to drive sales know it works, they just haven’t necessarily known exactly why. In today’s digitally connected world where real-time granular metrics fuel campaign decisions, the old way is fading fast.

TVs are becoming connected devices as the smart TV market expands exponentially, and suddenly we have the ability to gather powerful, actionable data—data that brands were conditioned to work without. For instance, agencies used to take weeks to provide rough data on when and where an ad aired. Now we can track and deliver information about TV advertising in real time across all networks and shows.

But it gets even better.

In the past, brands would spend massive sums using small focus groups to decide which creative executions and which shows to spend the most money on. And weeks later, they would need to cobble together limited evidence and educated guesses to determine success.

Now, using millions of internet-connected TVs, brands can measure attention and completion rates based on what TV ad actually appeared at a specific time on individual screens. Not from a messy patchwork of set-top boxes or from small panels – but directly from the TV device.

That means that, in addition to getting granular demographic measures from actual TV screens, brands can now see which networks, shows, dayparts and creatives held the most attention. This allows marketers to then optimize all decisions using real performance data, not guess work.

Marketers are now, of course, transacting on digital platforms where cost-per-click, cost-per-view, completion rate, and more nuanced metrics such as “likes” and shares, are driving decision-making. Which is all great in theory, but in 2017, we are running against a harsh reality: brand messages aren’t always in brand-safe environments online. And let’s face it: Few ads are true thumb-stoppers, so brands often have three seconds or less to grab attention online and make an impact.

In short, marketers aren’t giving up on the living room because they still find value in TV.

But TV isn’t just a safe haven from the Wild West of digital platforms. With connected TVs, we can explicitly map an ad-exposure-to-sales activity using conversion analytics. That means we can help brands understand a host of performance indicators just like they would in a digital environment. Now, instead of guessing that a specific brand message would work best on, say, The Tonight Show, a brand might find—by looking at real-time conversion data—that The Voice and Today are far better at driving visits to the website or downloads of the app. That’s not guesswork conversion data, that’s using the same thing that makes digital attractive in the first place: tracking pixels. 1:1 matching. Deterministic data. Not puffed-up models like TV buyers of years past are used to – but the good stuff we use now to prove ROI.

So if you’re a CMO who has written off TV for its faults, you should know there is now a smarter way to do it. And – if you’re a CMO buying television and you aren’t yet using the new approach to measuring attention and conversion – your TV strategies are about to get a lot stronger and simpler at the same time.

For those of you who want to see a more practical example of how this can be utilized, here is a case study we did for Experian Credit Services.

If you have any questions about the case study or TV analytics in general, feel free to reach out to me directly at