Dentsu Video Investment Chief Says Buyers Need Data Consistency, Clarity In Mobile Video

CentsWe hear about TV budgets being reallocated to digital, but how much budget exactly?

According to an AOL survey of 300 brands, agencies, and publishers, nine out of 10 of those buyers push 10% of their TV budgets to digital.

While that’s good news for online publishers, it creates additional burdens around how data can be applied across platform.

TV transacts on a time-tested currency, so naturally buyers expect more in the measurement department once traditional budgets go digital.

“The majority of impressions we buy are digital video and we need to be focused on every channel, not just ABC, CBS or NBC,” said Michael Law, EVP and managing director of video investments for Dentsu Aegis Network’s media investment arm Amplifi, who spoke Wednesday at AOL’s headquarters in New York.

He added: “We have to understand the quality of new inventory sources as well as the efficiency and effectiveness of that content.”

About 91% of advertisers and agencies surveyed purchased digital video programmatically in 2015, up from 53% in 2012, according to the report. (Note, programmatic constitutes close to 50% of AOL’s display revenue.)

Dentsu is one of them – Amplifi manages about $4 billion in video ad spend annually.

But the use of data endemic to programmatic puts more pressure on the relationships agency, advertiser and tech vendor, Law said.  

“Of course, as a buyer, I want things as cheap and efficient as possible so if there are price increases warranted by better targetability, we want to be able to justify that and test it out,” he explained.

But video buyers are faced with silos across multiple supply sources. Although you could scale reach on a single platform, it’s equally vital to apply that data to the whole of your media mix.

And here’s where walled gardens become a big problem.

Facebook represents billions of impressions and is only beginning to grease its video gears, but marketers question the extent to which they can access user-level data outside of the platform’s four walls. Similarly, cable operators and networks like Comcast and Turner are converting their respective data sets into monetizable audience and media assets.

Although it’s early innings in the Verizon and AOL integration, what hypothetically happens if marketers want Verizon’s mobile subscriber data to impact more than AOL-optimized campaigns?

IMG_7200-2“That’s the reality – everyone will have their own data, which might or might not be shared,” Law said. “It will be up to the client or agency to bring their own data to the table or find commonalities in data cross-platform. You don’t want five definitions of ‘auto intender.’ You have to find overlap between data sets and then you can create common pools.”

Mobile video represents more uncharted territory for marketers.

The AOL data found mobile video budgets increased only 18% this year, which Joanna Foyle, SVP of client services and operations for AOL, said may be encumbered by the lack of measurement in more emergent channels.

But lack of measurement overshadows a more simple explanation for why dollars aren’t flooding to mobile video yet.

“We can’t just flip on a switch and pour money into something we don’t fully understand yet,” Law said. “Mobile is a very personal device and we’re doing a lot of work now to contrast the value of a pre-roll vs. short-form or branded content on devices.”

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