Podcast: Data Science Meets TV Advertising

“The power of live television is still very real for marketers,” says Kevin Krim, CEO of TV data science startup EDO.

And who would disagree? Advertising is an afterthought in the rapidly expanding SVOD arena, where consumers pay $5 or $9 or $15 a month to binge on shows with nary an ad break. As a result, the commercially extravagant linear TV experience appeals to brands more than ever.

But live TV is under pressure. Even if you ignore consumer adoption trends, the channel desperately needs to adopt closed-loop advertising systems pioneered by Facebook and Google.

“Nielsen ratings are not directly in the control of the broadcaster, and you certainly can’t optimize a campaign on the post-facto rating number which can vary quite a bit,” Krim says in this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks. “You need something that’s real-time and has the statistical rigor to be able to say within a tight confidence interval, I know what this number is going to be in the future and it’s a number that’s within the goal of the client.”

EDO is one of a number of companies trying to enable that kind of confidence in TV ads, but it’s a heavy lift. Through its detailed TV ad database, which can pinpoint when and where ad creatives run down to the second, the company can link TV ad placements to surges in branded search activity and other consumer intent signals.

“We pull the data at a minute-by-minute level so you can see the changes. Some of them are quite small and quite fleeting,” he says. “Most of the spikes in engagement that we see are a few minutes, and then they’re gone and you’re back to the baseline level.”

No surprise: the job is relatively easy for major events like NFL games, and less so with more obscure programming. “What’s hard is to see the effect of an ad on a late night cable re-run of ‘Bob’s Burgers,’” says Krim. “To see that is quite sophisticated in terms of data science.”

Also in this episode, Krim talks about EDO’s amazing investor group, including the actor Edward Norton, Vista’s Robert Smith, Jim Breyer and the Goodhart brothers (Jonah and Noah).

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