For Programmatic TV, One Size No Longer Fits All

walthorstmanOn TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Walt Horstman, president at AudienceXpress.

When programmatic TV buying first started gaining relevance a few years ago, its key value to agencies was to combine advanced data licensed from single-sourced data providers such as Nielsen and comScore TV, with automation, to improve traditional TV campaign targeting. Rather than just using age and gender to plan campaigns and wait until month’s end to determine success, programmatic TV offered the promise of greater speed, improved flexibility and more precise targeting for the linear TV ecosystem.

The introduction of new advanced data sets by the aforementioned third-party data providers brought about a new way to inform targeted TV campaigns. These advanced data sets provided insights into which audiences were most likely to watch which networks and shows. So, if the client was a quick-serve restaurant, advanced data could help identify the networks and dayparts that most often reached heavy spenders most likely to frequent that restaurant.

Agencies were frequently asked to compare two types of campaigns – an advanced data-driven one using the client’s specific targeted audience segment and a non-data-driven one, deploying more traditional demographics – to demonstrate how data could affect their clients’ decision-making. As programmatic TV gained further adoption, a bifurcation emerged between TV campaigns that were data-driven and those that were not. This bifurcation fostered a one-size-fits-all approach to how advanced data was applied.

Recently, however, we have seen a new trend emerging in programmatic TV that speaks to its continuing maturity and adoption. The use of advanced data is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. Data now drives programmatic TV campaigns toward a client’s business goals in a much more sophisticated manner, allowing advertisers to go beyond targeting a single advanced audience segment.

A comprehensive set of programmatic TV products is materializing with this more tailored approach. These products take advantage of the increasingly complex data that is now available from single-source data providers, in conjunction with advanced technology, to allow advertisers to rapidly plan a TV campaign and optimize it daily against the data.

Brand Audience Targeting

This was the go-to product when advanced data first became available. Data is used to identify the networks and dayparts with the highest viewer concentration of a particular brand’s consumers. It was the natural “first” product because it improved brand targeting far beyond age and gender proxies. It helped identify opportunities in networks and dayparts that had previously been overlooked using the traditional method.

Within brand audience targeting, multiple advanced data sets can be fused to improve targeting accuracy. For example, an agency can marry its client’s first-party data with third-party shopper card data to find prospects that fit a target audience profile.

Category Audience Targeting

Multiple agencies have extended beyond brand targeting to include category targeting. For example, an agency could help a big-box retailer use advanced data to identify the viewership trends of the entire category, including the frequent shoppers of any big-box retailer rather than just targeting its own brand loyalists. The increasing sophistication of third-party syndicated TV data sets, combined with first-party customer data provided by an agency, is making category audience targeting quite robust.

Reach Extension

For many agencies, the key goal for their programmatic TV campaigns is to extend reach effectively. As the fragmentation of TV and other media has grown, achieving reach goals plays a more important role among marketers’ objectives. The measurement of reach, especially against an advanced audience segment, has historically been a challenge. Today, however, the robust data sets bring greater precision to quantifying reach goals.

For example, an advertiser trying to reach an audience likely to purchase high-end cars can now use advanced data sets to quantify whether its ads are indeed meeting its reach goals. That data, combined with technological advances in campaign optimization, which can now be run automatically every day, can help marketers use data more effectively to capitalize on TV’s inherent strength in reach.

Linear And Nonlinear TV Targeting

The proverbial holy grail of programmatic TV products may be a singular cross-platform targeting and execution capability between linear and nonlinear TV. Creating this product is a substantial undertaking but the groundwork is already coming together. The advanced data sets used to plan and measure across platforms are helping marketers make great strides. And the technology to execute on this data across linear and nonlinear platforms is also beginning to come together.

The demand for these more tailored products is a strong indicator of the continued growth and evolution in programmatic TV. As the advanced data-driven campaigns become more sophisticated, the need for advanced TV technology to plan and execute them grows in concert.

For example, a category audience targeting campaign must balance a high category index with budget goals and CPM goals. These goals are often opposing, and automated planning and execution platforms are needed to evaluate trade-offs of goals against inventory supply in near real time. Otherwise the complexity of manual work becomes overwhelming and threatens to thwart growth.

The proliferation of these products speaks to another important trend for programmatic TV. It helps agencies, along with support from programmatic TV platforms, craft the best that TV has to offer for their client’s needs. Because the use of advanced data is increasingly becoming an industry standard, the conversation is starting to evolve to better understand a myriad of marketer’s needs in the programmatic TV space. It is a positive development in order for agencies and marketers to generate optimal value and share in the success promised by programmatic TV.

Follow Walt Horstman, (@walthorstmannyc), AudienceXpress (@AudienceXpress) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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