• Complexity of Unifying Linear and Streaming TV Advertising Explained

    If you’re looking to better understand the underlying challenges of unifying buying and selling video advertising across linear TV and streaming TV, FreeWheel released a valuable report last week called “The Definitive Guide to Unified Video.”

    The report is especially timely as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of streaming and linear ratings continue to fall. As a result, advertisers are working harder to build effective campaigns, especially those that can reach younger audiences. TV networks are adapting by delivering their content directly to audiences through digital services, often with ad support. Linear will continue to be a sizable though shrinking part of the viewership pie over time, while streaming will increase. So figuring out how to unify buying and selling across the two during the transition period and beyond is critically important.

    The FreeWheel report breaks down the market according to two axes: scheduled ad (typical of linear) and dynamically inserted ads (typical in digital/streaming) and how to data-enable the planning, targeting and measuring of unified video ads. A big part of the unification challenge is that in linear, ads exist as units of time in a schedule, whereas in digital/streaming ads are impressions, dynamically and opportunistically served to viewers. This disparity leads to measurement differences, sample vs. census, each with its own pros and cons.

    The report also explains the different ways that data is collected on viewers, deterministic and probabilistic, and how these translate to targeting. Again, digital/streaming and linear TV have different approaches to how viewers are identified and connected with attributes that would then make them potentially desirable to the ad buyer. The report uses the example of a car dealership to illustrate the challenges of data-enabled campaign planning, including ID matching, data refreshes, privacy and deprecation of existing IDs.

    I have long believed that every advertising impression is going to become more valuable as more details are known about us as viewers, and as advertisers are able to target us with messages that have a higher potential for resulting in a positive outcome for them. The new FreeWheel report shows how progress is being made toward this future and also the transitional challenges.

    The report is available as a complimentary download here.