TV Ad Buying Needs A Revolution – And Now Is The Time For Real Action

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

Today’s column is by Pam Zucker, SVP and head of marketing at Amobee

In a recent interview, IAB CEO David Cohen challenged advertisers “to rethink how they buy television.” He highlighted the dramatic change in consumption since the onset of COVID, which now demands different actions by advertisers and agencies. Those are indisputable facts. 

It’s Cohen’s job to lead our industry, making his cry for change absolutely necessary. But we need a revolution, not an evolution. And you can’t win a gunfight with a knife. 

The greatest threat to advertising and media today is waste: dollars wasted on the wrong audience, time wasted navigating new landscapes with outdated tools and energy wasted fighting inevitable industry changes. 

How do we avoid this waste and actually make an impact? Here’s what advertisers are up against and how they can adapt to this new era.

Premium video’s potential

Linear TV impressions for the 18 to 49 audience have declined 49% in the past five years. They’re estimated to decline another 22% over the next two years, based on Amobee and GroupM estimates derived from Nielsen and Kantar numbers. Time spent viewing streaming content, meanwhile, is on the rise.

What’s more, most streaming views today are on non-ad-supported platforms, or SVOD. Ad-supported FAST or AVOD platforms are just now emerging, and we can’t corrupt them with over-commercialization.

This means advertisers must embrace two new realities: higher but more targeted CPM pricing within the CTV/AVOD environment and the need for improved navigation across diverse channels to ensure a positive consumer experience. For example, the marketplace’s inability to manage frequency across channels throws a wrench into the evolving CTV universe.

With all that said, three fundamental conditions will drive the premium video marketplace into the future:

  1. 100% of media will be data enabled – not 100% biddable
  2. Premium media will be both reserved and optimized through predictive planning and real-time allocation-based decisioning
  3. Outcomes will depend on a variety of underlying identity and measurement standards that rely on interoperability across the supply chain

Action plan for buyers and sellers 

Buyers and sellers must unite to ensure the future of ad-supported media. We all need to collectively embrace data-enabled marketplaces that put the consumer first. Though Cohen has stopped short of laying out an action plan, here’s what one could look like:

1. Opt for data-enabled media buys. Buyers, stop negotiating YOY pricing on demo CPMs. It’s much better to buy “smart, data-enabled GRPs” than continue to buy “dumb GRPs.” Pay for value. And measure the results to learn where your brands’ new thresholds are.

2. As we move to buying data-enabled audiences, each brand will need to establish new pricing benchmarks for strategic audiences to redefine clout. Clout should become a tool that agencies use to gain access to data, create first-mover advantages for new technology solutions, collaborate on consumer experiences, as well as test currencies and measurement solutions.

3. Allow technology to aggregate your supply pools. Don’t be a walled garden. When buyers can manage inventory across media companies, the consumer wins. Trust the value of your content – or create better content.

4. Eliminate packaging to sell your least desirable inventory. Set parameters that make all of your inventory valuable at the right price. Allow the market factors of supply and demand to thrive.

5. Fund technology that will solve the new marketplace challenges. New investments are needed as analog transitions to digital. In the end, the technology fees pay for themselves by creating exponential value and ensuring a long-term ad-supported media ecosystem.

We can fight to sustain a healthy ad-supported media landscape. But we must do it together. The wise Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” We must peddle faster and in unison to move the TV industry forward. Will you join the revolution with me?

Follow Amobee (@Amobee) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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