Home On TV & Video LiveRamp’s Latest Deal Shows How TV And Digital Are Becoming More Like Siblings Than Strangers

LiveRamp’s Latest Deal Shows How TV And Digital Are Becoming More Like Siblings Than Strangers


On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is written by Lindsey Harju, co-founder at Blinc Digital Group.

With this week’s acquisition of Data Plus Math, LiveRamp is now touting that outcome-based TV buying is a real option for advertisers.

Instead of relying on GRPs, TV buyers can make media purchase decisions and validate their investments, based on actions taken by the target audience. For digital marketers, this concept sounds just like cost-per-acquisition campaigns.

Over the last decade, TV buyers have been infusing more first- and third-party data into their media plans to improve efficiency, even allowing smaller brands to get in on the game via addressable TV. They have also invested in measurement solutions that go beyond the “watch and see if sales go up” strategy, a tried-and-true method of yesteryear. From targeting to measurement and now currency, marketers continue to leverage concepts that work well for digital and apply them to TV.

Smart people continually learn from others – whether it is avoiding past mistakes or borrowing great ideas. As digital and TV continue to look more like siblings than strangers, TV leaders should consider stealing a page from their counterpart’s playbooks in several areas.

Cross-screen identity

The digital world still heavily relies upon a browser-based identity: cookies. And although most data management platform vendors don’t want to admit it, real-time decisioning is still based on those identifiers that represent a single device. As a result, cross-screen frequency management or sequential creative isn’t really happening for most brands. This is especially troubling as digital audiences are intensely fragmented across tablets, mobile devices, apps and traditional desktops. On the flip side, TV viewership fragmentation is just beginning to explode.

Bottom line: As TV leaders create platforms to optimize and manage media across screens, ensuring that systems are built to manage a variety of identities upfront will help them avoid some of the pain experienced by their digital predecessors.

Fraudulent identifiers

Addressable digital media started with a persistent identifier – email – before exploding in cookies. On the positive side, it made digital addressable, even without user logins. Unfortunately, the door was opened to bots and fraud. So far, TV identifiers, such as cable or satellite subscription data, IP-addresses and connected device IDs, have been pretty solid. But as fragmentation continues, fraudsters will find opportunities to exploit TV identifiers.


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Bottom line: Advanced TV leaders should be laying a foundation for fraud-detection long before big brands call them out and cut budgets. In the long run, no identifier is impenetrable when fraud is so lucrative.

Brand-safe inventory

TV has a long legacy of creating media that brands find safe, with the occasional exception of a chatty reality star, of course. There isn’t quite the same legacy in digital, but things weren’t always so murky. As buyers prioritized cheap CPMs over impact or brand safety, digital sellers were incentivized to overload pages with ads, and click-bait became king. Many digital media leaders must now claw their way back out of what turned into a race to the bottom on pricing. Lowering prices is easy, but raising prices is hard unless you have scarcity.

Bottom line: As the definition of TV continually expands, TV media leaders should hold onto that piece of their legacy versus being seduced by cheap digital video content that could drive prices down too far to come back from.

Evaluate media with reasonable scale

This is an area where the TV cruise liner is turning at turtle speed. Why on earth are millions of dollars in ad spend executing based on the current ratings system, which is based on a tiny fraction of the US population, on a fraction of the devices they use? Everyone complains about the current ratings system, yet there has been a lack of alignment around the newer and better offerings.

In a dream world, and likely a future world, TV could look like digital, and all views could be verified as viewable and authentic, warranting payment. This is why I am excited about the Data Plus Math acquisition and its potential for changing how media buys are guaranteed upfront. If they gain enough traction, that could be the first real and neutral step beyond merely complaining about the current ratings system.

Bottom line: TV buyers have the ability to place buys based on better data. But for the market to truly evolve, they need to start transacting with new methods at scale.

As someone who has worked on both sides of the house – TV and digital – I don’t see one as better than the other. Both have their pros and cons, and both will be made better by trading leadership and ideas to make 1+1=3.

If you are a leader on the digital or TV side, consider how you can bring insights and experience from the other side to your organization to future-proof your solutions and win the race for advanced TV domination.

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