Why You Should Adopt a Consolidated Media Buying Approach

by Nick Reid

Posted on 12-19-2017

Are you old enough to remem­ber stand­ing up and cross­ing the room to switch tele­vi­sion chan­nels? Or when you could count the num­ber of chan­nels on one hand? It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like ancient his­to­ry. What we watch, and how that con­tent gets to us, have been rev­o­lu­tionised thanks to advances in stream­ing media. This has cre­at­ed new avenues for tar­get­ed adver­tis­ing, and oppor­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness­es to adopt a more con­sol­i­dat­ed media buy­ing approach. Tech­nolo­gies such as con­nect­ed TVs (CTV), over-the-top (OTT) media ser­vices, and tar­get­ed video adver­tis­ing pro­vide plat­forms and data that can help adver­tis­ers reach their audi­ences with bet­ter expe­ri­ences, regard­less of device, in a way that tells a sto­ry that res­onates with them.

To put cus­tomers’ expe­ri­ence first, adver­tis­ers need to learn how to con­sol­i­date data frag­ment­ed by device, and put less empha­sis on the media chan­nel as the con­tent dri­ver. There must be a con­sis­tent mes­sage across all plat­forms. In tele­vi­sion, as with any media chan­nel, adver­tis­ers need to cap­i­talise on the reach they can achieve across exchange-based media. They also need to find trust­ed pub­lish­ers that can pro­vide their inven­to­ry through pro­gram­mat­ic advertising.

Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly speak­ing, all of the pieces are here, yet some adver­tis­ers are hes­i­tant to aban­don tra­di­tion­al mod­els and embrace change.

Connected Television Analysis

A recent study looked at the mar­ket poten­tial for video-based adver­tis­ing through CTVs in Europe. More specif­i­cal­ly, it explored indus­try per­spec­tives on the dri­vers and inhibitors of growth for CTV adver­tis­ing in each of the five largest West­ern Euro­pean mar­kets: UK, Ger­many, France, Italy, and Spain. It found that although there’s opti­mism about the ben­e­fits dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing can bring to tele­vi­sion, broad­cast­ers must over­come a num­ber of chal­lenges if they are going to com­pete against the dom­i­nant Inter­net advertisers.

CTV adver­tis­ing applies dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tech­niques to tele­vised adver­tis­ing, and enables appli­ca­tions such as data-dri­ven tar­get­ing and house­hold-lev­el address­abil­i­ty to pro­vide pro­gram­mat­ic trad­ing to the TV mar­ket, all of which are dif­fi­cult to realise on tra­di­tion­al TV plat­forms. This tech­no­log­i­cal focus, com­bined with behav­iour­al factors—such as the idea that peo­ple are more like­ly to watch an ad all the way through on a tele­vi­sion than on a small device—offers a valu­able adver­tis­ing opportunity.

The researchers found that OTT ser­vices are on the rise in all the study areas. In the UK, for exam­ple, in 2016, more than half of the views on Chan­nel 4’s OTT plat­form were on CTVs, up from 35 per­cent in 2015. The broad­cast­er, the first in the UK to offer advanced adver­tis­ing on CTVs, sees CTV as the future and is mak­ing advanced mar­ket­ing capa­bil­i­ties avail­able on its app for the first time.

What’s nice about OTT ser­vices is that they allow adver­tis­ers to lever­age the capa­bil­i­ties of dig­i­tal data cap­ture and tar­get­ing with­out hav­ing to over­come the tech­ni­cal chal­lenges present in tra­di­tion­al tele­vi­sion dis­tri­b­u­tion plat­forms. One spe­cif­ic area of growth has been adver­tis­ing sur­round­ing live events, such as a foot­ball match or the Oscars tele­cast. These have a broad reach, enabling adver­tis­ers to touch mul­ti­ple users across a wide vari­ety of stream­ing devices, help­ing to cre­ate a more uni­fied experience.

In gen­er­al, study par­tic­i­pants believe that major com­mer­cial free-to-air (FTA) broad­cast­ers are in a good posi­tion to grow the CTV ad mar­ket since they have the con­tent, scale, reach, and resources to cap­i­talise on the oppor­tu­ni­ty as it stands now. But if they are too slow on the uptake, there is a good chance they will be pres­sured by large dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing play­ers look­ing to stake a claim on the emerg­ing mar­ket, most like­ly start­ing with live events. Accord­ing to the study, “Par­tic­i­pants in all mar­kets expect broad­cast­ers to face sig­nif­i­cant com­pe­ti­tion in the CTV adver­tis­ing mar­ket from Face­book and Google, and esti­mate that these com­pa­nies could cap­ture between a third and a half of the future CTV adver­tis­ing mar­ket in each country.”

Despite this momen­tum, adver­tis­ers and broad­cast­ers remain reluc­tant, part­ly because of a lack of clar­i­ty sur­round­ing the cur­rent def­i­n­i­tion, size, and val­ue of the CTV adver­tis­ing mar­ket. CTV adver­tis­ing is seen as a sep­a­rate chan­nel, which cre­ates scep­ti­cism about its poten­tial val­ue. Many par­tic­i­pants believe that growth is pos­si­ble, but not with­out buy-in and col­lab­o­ra­tion with­in the indus­try sur­round­ing stan­dards of mea­sure­ment and data shar­ing. This is influ­enced by the polit­i­cal sphere as well, where a lack of leg­is­la­tion sur­round­ing dig­i­tal data shar­ing cre­ates some shak­i­ness in the market.

There are tech­ni­cal hur­dles, as well. As with all dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing, a large part of the prob­lem is the pro­lif­er­a­tion of devices con­sumers use. We’ve all heard of dou­ble screening—using a lap­top, phone or tablet while watch­ing television—which has become the norm for many of us. Dig­i­tal adver­tis­ers had to come up with ways to deter­mine which device or user was access­ing con­tent. With CTVs, things have changed. The prob­lem now is dis­tin­guish­ing user pro­files from a shared device. As one par­tic­i­pant put it, “TV sets are a house­hold set … So you have to learn about … who’s sit­ting in front of the TV set.” These types of issues will define how dig­i­tal mea­sure­ment is done and how adver­tis­ers gauge their success.

Digital Marketing and a Consolidated Media Buying Approach

In many organ­i­sa­tions, adver­tis­ing strat­e­gy and bud­gets tend to be siloed. This is usu­al­ly bro­ken into dig­i­tal vs. non-dig­i­tal, if not by indi­vid­ual chan­nels with­in those cat­e­gories. In the dig­i­tal are­na, siloes of video, social, mobile, and desk­top often still exist, and in many cas­es their activ­i­ties rarely over­lap. This frag­ment­ed approach results in dif­fer­ent mes­sag­ing being deliv­ered to the same user across dif­fer­ent plat­forms, which winds up cre­at­ing a sub­op­ti­mal experience.

The chal­lenge is find­ing a media buy­ing approach allow­ing adver­tis­ers to put the audi­ence first. This needs to be based on a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing frame­work that focus­es on cap­tur­ing rel­e­vant cus­tomer data points, par­ti­tion­ing users into high-val­ue seg­ments, and push­ing tar­get­ed con­tent via auto­mat­ed chan­nels to con­sumers at the right time. This frame­work pro­vides the infor­ma­tion that allows adver­tis­ers to take advan­tage of a con­sol­i­dat­ed approach to buy­ing media.

The first step toward sup­port­ing this is ensur­ing your online and offline adver­tis­ing strate­gies are in sync, by enabling and opti­mis­ing your con­tent across all chan­nels to pro­vide a more uni­fied expe­ri­ence, regard­less of device. This requires a con­sol­i­dat­ed view of your cus­tomer, which is defined through exist­ing cus­tomer data and accu­rate engage­ment met­rics cap­tured as part of a dig­i­tal campaign.

This data feeds future adver­tis­ing strate­gies by show­ing you which touch­points are most effec­tive, allow­ing you to cus­tomise adver­tise­ments based on your cus­tomer data. This requires rig­or­ous test­ing of cus­tomer engage­ment, retar­get­ing of ads based on engage­ment met­rics, estab­lish­ment of high-val­ue sub-seg­ments and unique cus­tomer pro­files, and con­tin­u­al adjust­ing of the cam­paign strat­e­gy to incor­po­rate the top-per­form­ing elements.

These dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing strate­gies pro­vide the frame­work upon which con­tent can be designed and auto­mat­ed to sup­port a suc­cess­ful media buy­ing and adver­tis­ing approach. Hav­ing the data and ana­lyt­ics to quick­ly tar­get con­sumers pro­vides the oppor­tu­ni­ty that indus­tries such as CTV and OTT ser­vices are look­ing for. These strate­gies are already being used across a range of indus­tries, and the major play­ers in dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing today are sure to become even big­ger play­ers in tomorrow’s dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing market.

It’s up to busi­ness­es to embrace dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing tech­nolo­gies as a way to improve the effec­tive­ness of their cam­paigns, par­tic­u­lar­ly if they want to move toward a more con­sol­i­dat­ed media buy­ing approach. This will improve their suc­cess rates and posi­tion them to take advan­tage of emerg­ing mar­kets, such as pro­gram­mat­ic tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ments. In the case of CTVs, it remains to be seen if the com­mer­cial FTA broad­cast­ers will seize their oppor­tu­ni­ty to estab­lish a new prece­dence for dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing, or if they’ll allow the Inter­net media giants to expand their reach into on-demand tele­vi­sion and live events.

Topics: Digital Transformation, advertising, connected television, digital marketing, media buying, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA

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