Home On TV & Video What Kid-Focused Media Lacks In Measurement, It Makes Up For In Co-Viewing

What Kid-Focused Media Lacks In Measurement, It Makes Up For In Co-Viewing


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

Cable isn’t a household staple anymore, and most children are growing up with streaming video.

But for digital advertisers, planning campaigns against kids media is a tall order (unlike their audience). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits companies from collecting data from children under 13 years old online without parental consent, let alone using it for targeted advertising.

The details are important. CTV publisher Future Today, for example, doesn’t collect any personal identifiable information to measure ads that run on its HappyKids streaming app, but it does support more user-level targeting and measurement against Fawesome, its streaming entertainment channel for kids 13 and up.

Future Today banks on co-viewing to prove the value of household-level targeting against ad impressions served within HappyKids content, said Mark Smith, who joined Future Today in September as VP of ad products, operations and strategy after three and a half years at Roku.

Because co-viewing drives high engagement, “a brand can achieve higher outcomes in a co-viewing environment compared with delivering an ad to only an adult or only a child,” said Future Today Co-Founder Vikrant Mathur.

Mathur and Smith spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: How does Future Today approach ad sales for kid-focused content?

VIKRANT MATHUR: Marketing around kids content is sensitive because of COPPA, and we have to be very careful about what ads run on the channel.

We’re mostly running direct-sold ads against our kids and family channels. Sourcing brands directly gives us a lot more control over the advertising experience by ensuring those brands are relevant to and safe for our audience.

Advertisers in the kids and family space are slower to adopt a programmatic strategy than other brands because it’s harder for buyers to ensure inventory is COPPA compliant. COPPA limits the data that can be used for targeting and measurement.


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What will make advertisers more comfortable buying children’s media programmatically?

MATHUR: It’s a matter of educating clients on the benefits and value of having a presence in an engaging, co-viewing environment.

Kids content is the fastest-growing category for us in terms of distribution. We see an opportunity in programmatic because co-viewing makes audiences in kids media more valuable to buyers.

MARK SMITH: Children who are exposed to ads have a heavy influence on the purchase intent of other family members in their household.

How does Future Today measure the success of an ad in children’s content?

SMITH: Reach and frequency are the primary KPIs.

Under COPPA, we can’t track or store any personal identifiable information about children, which eliminates many of the conversion-based metrics that performance marketers are looking for.

But there are other opportunities for us to measure campaign outcomes on these channels. We conduct brand lift studies and we recently piloted a study to outline KPIs associated with co-viewing. Our surveys and polls indicated that co-viewing indexes high on engagement.

Advertising on children’s content is difficult because buyers can’t directly measure the business outcomes of their campaigns. Brand lift and reach metrics aren’t as performance-focused as pixel-based analysis would be, but they’re still a more informed way to determine the value of an impression and execute media plans accordingly.

How does Future Today differentiate the data it collects and uses for measurement between HappyKids and Fawesome?

MATHUR: We take extra precautions with HappyKids because its audience is under 13.

We mask IP addresses and device IDs when we share data with partners. We also don’t share any personal identifiable information from HappyKids audiences for attribution. For Fawesome, though, we can share those IDs as long as we have the right permissions from the user.

Co-viewing is also more of a focus for us on HappyKids as opposed to Fawesome, where more sophisticated behavioral targeting is available to buyers because the audience is older.

Why is co-viewing becoming more important for advertisers?

MATHUR: Co-viewing is a bigger part of children’s streaming consumption compared with scheduled program guides on cable and satellite TV. Unlike linear, streaming video gives children more control over what they’re watching because it’s often on-demand. Now, more parents are co-viewing TV with their children to ensure that they can still control what’s on the screen.

For advertisers, co-viewing households are more likely to drive business outcomes. Children, for example, influence their parents to develop and act on brand sentiment that they didn’t have before talking about the brand at home.

Are there other ways co-viewing helps drive KPIs for advertisers?

MATHUR: Brands can build their reach and lift by messaging to a co-viewing household.

For example, an insurance brand might not see a need to advertise against content designed for a 7-year-old, but that same insurance brand would likely also be reaching a new or young parent who could be in the market for an insurance policy for their car or house.

Children can influence their parents by talking about a brand and asking questions.

Do advertisers understand the value prop of co-viewing?

SMITH: It comes down to giving buyers an understanding of how the prevalence of co-viewing in children’s content boosts the value of an ad exposure.

Strategic marketing to co-viewing audiences paired with reach and brand lift measurement can be an effective way to maximize the value of ad buys and impressions in children’s media.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

For more articles featuring Vikrant Mathur, click here.

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