Advanced Advertising - Automation, Measurement and Stewardship, OH MY!

There is a lot of activity brewing in the advanced advertising sector and the recent Multichannel Advanced Advertising conference in NYC brought many of us up to date. The conclusion of the conference was, as we prepare for the upfront TV season, advanced advertising will not only be a bigger player, it may even shift dollars. And, according to most of the panels, when we say Advanced Advertising we are also saying TV Programmatic in the same breath.

Granted, most of us think of advanced advertising as local time now but it is fast moving into national applications. Fox recently announced the appointment of Joe Marchese to President-advanced advertising products, a new position overseeing all non-linear TV advertising products and services inside Fox.  According to Louis Hillelson, Group Publisher B&C / Multichannel News, “It is only March 2015 and we have already seen movement in this space.” 

Unifying content offerings and getting credit for all of the audience delivered is the Holy Grail. This requires accurate cross platform metrics, the ability to steward all of the different units and an effective and automated platform to drive the sales process from proposal to completion. 

Even in this technological age, there are still a number of inefficient manual processes in the television buying and selling process. There is a great hunger among many of the buyers and sellers to automate and streamline processes. Todd Gorden, EVP Magna Global , explained, “Traditional television still has manual processes - Faxes, retyping of plans. We want to automate. Free up more time for conversations that help each business. (TV Programmatic) offers quality data to define target, a tech platform to facilitate business and inventory that can take advantage to where technology takes us.”

It all comes down to measurement and the ability to match disparate datasets accurately to gain insight into true consumer behaviors.  “Measurement is a key component,” according to Comcast Executive Director, Dan Carella.  Chris Monteferrante, VP AT&T, explained how his company handles measurement. “We retrieve second by second data from every set top box and developed an algorithm that takes all STB data, culls it down and produces an optimized media plan. The science solid, the research is solid and the output is solid.” Dan Sinagoga, VP Comcast Spotlight concurred, “It is all about the data - household level data against your key segments.”

With the ability to match to segments, we are seeing “real insights into the customer” according to EVP Cadreen, Erica Schmidt, “and the best available source of media usage behavior to match it to.“ But we have a way to go. James Rooke GM Freewheel admited that there is “undervalued inventory because of measurement challenges out there.”

Ultimately, it is the need for seamless de’siloing systems that make the entire buy sell process fully trackable.  Monteferrante noted that, “Systems will bring it all together. What are the standards of that system? How can we tie it all together?”  Some agencies have successfully established a planning protocol. Mike Bologna, President MODI Media, sees advanced advertising commanding 20-30% of a budget at this time. He said, “Hyper segments defined for advertisers can determine how TV content indexes against segments. (We) can do a beautifully balanced TV plan for an advertiser, down to the individual household. We take advantage of all the data and technology and balance between core and future customers.”

The Future?
Though there is a lot of talk about Programmatic TV in the upcoming upfront, this does not portend the end of traditional TV. In fact the two processes can go hand in hand. Gorden explains, “Comparing traditional TV to Programmatic TV is apples to oranges. Traditional TV is a more effective way to get up reach curve. But then it levels out. Then a dollar spent via programmatic can deliver more incremental reach.”

There are many national networks starting to explore the potential, and build out their Programmatic TV strategy. Attendee Hanna Gryncwajg, SVP Sales for RLTV, sees an opportunity, “I see programmatic (automated) selling as a benefit for all national networks.  Long tail cable networks have rich audience compositions and will likely find a CPM benefit from their current undervalued impressions.  Under appreciated audiences such as Boomers (Adults 50+) will be welcome when data shows they are the ones buying certain products and services.”

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