AOL's Adap.tv will acquire Jon Mandel’s PrecisionDemand, a TV ad-targeting company that mines set-top box data and layers it with first-party data.
In a Wednesday blog post outlining the acquisition, Adap.tv’s Toby Gabriner wrote: “Integrated into Adap.tv’s programmatic buying and selling platforms and, eventually, ONE by AOL, PrecisionDemand will be a key component of our advanced TV targeting, attribution and optimization technology available in the market.” (Read the blog post.)
Programmatic buying is also a big part of AOL's video initiatives; during its recent digital NewFront, the company said its original content, AOL Originals, and all reserve inventory would be available its Adap.tv platform. But although Adap.tv has pushed into this space via the Audience Path programmatic buying platform it rolled out in March, buying inventory on digital video is different from placing ads on linear TV. PrecisionDemand is designed to facilitate the latter.
AOL is testing its ad stack on linear TV, said Bob Lord, president of AOL Platforms, during a brand and agency forum AOL hosted Wednesday.
In addition to demographic data, PrecisionDemand "uses first-party data, target[s] real consumers and find[s] them by going many hundreds of variables deep" because traditional demographic targeting can be "statistically random," PrecisionDemand CEO Jon Mandel told AdExchanger in January.
Adap.tv hopes to connect consumer purchases back to specific TV ads, "not just the usual media mix modeling that is used today," Adap.tv's Gabriner continued. AOL's recent acquisition of marketing attribution provider Convertro for $101 million also strengthens this initiative. AOL has expressed on many recent occasions its strategy and vision of taking a "platform" approach to media buying.
Although the company is gunning for linear TV ad dollars, only a limited amount of this inventory is available to third-party ad networks or exchanges. A recently published report from video ad server FreeWheel indicated premium programmer content is still bought and sold largely direct. AOL hopes targeting enhancements to Adap.tv, via PrecisionDemand, can loosen more supply.