Performance-based video ad network SpotXchange will announce this week a new partnership with audience profiling firm Quantcast that will allow SpotXchange to offer demographic targeting across its entire network as well as Gross Ratings Points (GRP) based campaigns, the standard for TV media buying. As Bryon Evje, SpotXchange's EVP told me last week, being able to translate campaigns into a "cost-per-point" model for its clients means SpotXchange will be more appealing to traditional TV media buyers evaluating online video ad opportunities. SpotXchange's goal is of course to lure over ad dollars traditionally spent on TV.
If a SpotXchange advertiser is also a Quantcast client, then the advertiser will be able to proactively define a specific audience it wants to target and then buy just those ad placements from SpotXchange that fulfill its objective. SpotXchange can use Quantcast's data on particular segments to determine how many GRPs are available, and then by combining its own pricing, can calculate what it would cost a client to reach that audience on a per point basis.
SpotxChange can separately offer demographically-targeted ads by doing a real-time match against Quantcast's data, before an ad is served. If there isn't a targeted user available, then no ad would be served, reducing spending waste and enhancing the overall campaign's ROI.
Quantcast's demographic information is derived by tracking the behaviors of 220 million Internet users across thousands of web sites. I talked briefly with Quantcast's head of business development Winston Crawford who explained that the company's secret sauce is an "inference model" that takes the behavioral data and mathematically translates it into affinity levels.
From this Quantcast is able to build a "lookalike" model which allows advertisers to target those users who have similar affinities (and as a result a higher probably of converting) elsewhere on the web. In the case of SpotXchange, the lookalikes targeted would be users of sites in its publisher network. Quantcast already works with other video ad networks such as Tremor and BBE, along with many display ad networks.
Melding online video ad campaigns with traditional GRP measurement has gained momentum this year, as other video ad networks like Tremor, BBE and YuMe have announced their own initiatives. Combining a GRP approach with demographic targeting offered by firms like Quantcast is further evidence that the online video ad medium is continuing to mature. Despite the news today that CBS Interactive is phasing out its use of third-party ad networks, as video ad networks move to offering campaigns that can be evaluated along traditional TV criteria, this should in turn draw traditional TV ad dollars to online video. That would mean video ad networks' value would increase.
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