Thursday, August 21, 2014, 4:25 PM ETPosted by:Anne Hunter
SVP, Global Marketing Strategy, comScore
Discussion about programmatic buying is plentiful these days, with many calling it "the hottest sector of advertising right now." As brands and agencies continue testing programmatic options across different types of media, questions - and many opinions - remain about how digital and TV can play together in the programmatic space.
The reality is that both digital and TV could stand to take some cues from one another to improve efficiencies. It's critical to take a realistic perspective on how these media could best converge, easing the buying and selling processes and advancing the entire ad industry. Adopting such an approach will help marketers execute and measure cross-platform campaigns that, as Unilever's CMO Keith Weed remarked at Cannes, will allow them to "lead with brands and not channels."
How can TV buying and planning enhance digital, and vice versa?
TV Buying and Selling Can Help Digital
- Brand-building metrics based on reaching individuals with the opportunity to see advertising are critical. While TV advertising was founded using person-based brand advertising metrics such as demographics, reach, frequency and GRPs, digital has often focused on metrics such as the click on a display ad. TV ads have always been based on delivering the 'opportunity to see' them, whereas digital media has presented additional challenges with the incidence of ads delivered below the fold and to non-human traffic (NHT) such as bots.
As a result, digital has not always had as clean a path to the traditional brand advertising metrics that TV has relied on for so long. Fortunately, technology is enabling better measurement in digital, reducing the waste coming from non-viewable ads and NHT and making digital metrics increasingly comparable to true brand metrics used in TV.
- Defining and showcasing that quality does matter. In the TV market content quality is king, which is why TV broadcasters and networks - largely through Upfronts - have mastered the art of showcasing the quality of available inventory. Digital, on the contrary, has a greater divide between high and poor quality content, but the quality of premium inventory often goes unarticulated, or at least to a much lower extent than TV programming.
While Newfronts are a step in the right direction for digital, the medium can still learn from TV as to how to better showcase the quality of content. It's only when this quality is defined that scarcity is introduced that can strengthen demand, which will help articulate the value of premium digital advertising.
Digital Buying and Selling Can Help TV
- Behavioral targeting can provide another dimension on which to target TV audiences. One of digital advertising's key advantages over traditional media has been its use of behavioral and purchase-based targeting to reach a brand’s most valuable audiences. TV, which has traditionally relied on demographic data that serve as a proxy for a brand's most attractive target segments, could stand to benefit greatly from these digital targeting mechanisms if the capabilities were widely available within the existing TV ad buying infrastructure. Systems are evolving and we're beginning to see such opportunities emerge, such as the partnership between Simulmedia and TiVo Research and Analytics, which provides buyers with guarantees regarding the number of targeted purchasers viewing TV ads.
- Automation can make remnant and scatter TV buying and selling more efficient. While the Upfronts sales process - which still relies on face-to-face negotiation and physical paperwork - isn't going away any time soon, the scatter and remnant ad markets could benefit from a shift towards programmatic. This doesn't mean that TV inventory should get chopped up, commoditized and sold to the lowest bidder (as we sometimes think happens in digital).
Instead, given the nature of these more ad hoc and often smaller scale buys, the process could benefit from increased automation in the buying and selling of ads. Automation means improving the ability to aggregate more attractive ad packages based on variables beyond demographics, which should not only maintain or increase CPMs but also improve inventory sell-through.
Taking cues from other media platforms can bring efficiencies and improved effectiveness to both digital and TV buying and selling, bringing us one step closer to optimal planning, execution, and measurement of campaigns across platforms and screens.