TV has so far resisted the onslaught of programmatic technologies, but this may soon change, argues Jean-Paul Edwards, director of strategy and product development at OMD EMEA.
It is easy to see that the ecosystem of programmatic technologies has grown enormously in both scope and sophistication over the last few years.
What started as a way to monetise remnant inventory, essentially getting not much from nothing, has become a mechanism to ever more effectively get the right message in front of the right people for the right price driving both performance and monetisation.
Over the last 18 months or so, online video has also gone, to some degree, programmatic. However, TV has so far resisted the onslaught of programmatic technologies and approaches, preferring to stick with a tried-and-trusted proposition in the market built around volume trading mechanisms and panel-based measures. This has been for very good reasons as the viewing public is far less tolerant of ‘beta technologies’ being applied to their evening’s entertainment.
We are seeing some interesting exceptions as technologies and behaviours converge, such as Sky’s partnership with Videology to deliver the impacts of linear shows seen on the Sky Go platform to monetise viewing on a programmatic basis. This is the pattern of getting something where previously there was nothing repeating itself.
We should also note another trend based around the rise in programmatic technologies. The increased focus on audience planning is having an indirect, but profound, impact upon the whole media landscape and represents both a challenge and an opportunity to the TV industry in particular.
Planning around audiences has, of course, been around as long as we have thought about planning communications; however, the ability to identify, target and measure multiple niches with dynamic, context-aware messages has driven a shift in emphasis.
It means that we increasingly think about audiences before we think about channels or, to be more precise, we think about audiences as a dynamic variable before channels rather than the fixed point of traditional buying audience. In a programmatic world a channel is just one of potentially hundreds of data points that go into identifying the true value of an impression.
We now have first-party identity data and aggregated search and social feed data. It is because these data points can be queried against multiple variables such as location and contextual data points (for example, the weather) that we can identify the sales upside (or demand opportunity) associated with a given audience segment.
For large national advertisers with lots of customer data this may be dozens of segments related to, for example, lifestyle and usage occasion. Local advertisers may have less data but a very specific location-based audience in mind. The behaviours of those segments can be analysed to identify insights about them, messages can be tailored around them and their response can be measured individually and in aggregate.
Multiple touch points
This means that a new set of data points are most useful and thus drive decisioning. The measured uplift versus expected behaviour of a micro-segment, the signal of a new need state or behaviour from a similar group of people, and the measurement of exposures across multiple touch points are increasingly important. It is against these metrics that investment needs to perform.
To do that we need greater access to household census-level data, the ability to create privacy-compliant custom-targeting lists and the ability to measure uplift in sales and different degrees of optimisation of linear and addressable TV investments. Traditional panel-based systems still have a vital role to play as the primary mechanism with which to model and measure individual exposure, alongside census-level household data.
As they say, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” All of these capabilities exist, they just aren’t yet commonplace. If they can become more widely spread and part of the lexicon of TV planning then many more advertisers can make use of what is undoubtedly a powerful persuasive medium.
Advertising will be a more effective funding mechanism for content and consumers will see more relevant advertising content that speaks to their individual needs and interests, and reacts to their behaviours in a positive way.
We will be discussing these themes and many more at the Future TV Advertising Forum in London this week.