Adtech has failed to deliver for broadcasters over the past five years, but there are signs that there’s a better understanding and change on its way says Jana Eisenstein, Videology, general manager, EMEA.
In recent years, adtech has looked longingly at TV’s ad dollars, pounds and euros. But its efforts to acquire even a small portion of that wonderful pot of gold have consistently failed.
They’ve failed because generally they’ve tried to layer a display model onto the very different business of television sales. They’ve failed because they started the conversation with the idea that broadcasters were merely a road bump on the way to disruption and this created another disincentive for broadcasters to participate.
Their RTB-based approaches have not only failed to convince broadcasters that they really want to make much effort to explore the programmatic future but they’ve also left the demand side feeling that scale without quality wasn’t where they wanted their brands to be.
Not just that, but those using the RTB exchanges on both sides have encountered significant flaws starting with poor viewability and fraud and ending with high levels of drop off that hit publisher revenue.
So now it’s time to revisit the potential for adtech to help telly, wherever and whenever its watched. We need to create solutions that not only attract engaged views for brands but also deliver strong returns for the companies that are investing in this content. This is done by applying the benefits of data based targeting across all viewing platforms.
After five years of chaos and dissatisfaction we need to get this right. Over that time our viewing patterns have changed dramatically. TV viewing is still best viewed as a many-layered onion, with linear TV at its heart and the outer rings representing time-shifted viewing via the PVR, video-on-demand and IPTV are getting bigger. And they won’t go away.
Broadcasters know that video revenues are no longer simply nice to have but are an essential part of their business. Having resisted RTB's race to the bottom, they need the tools to make this work for them.
Some have already found solutions. According to IHS, online TV revenues grew by 23% year on year in nominal terms, to reach £976m.
Brands too need to take advantage of the incremental opportunity that all these new forms of viewing offer, optimizing across channels and for viewability and leveraging the benefits of addressability through data.
Programmatic gives both sides the tools to manage the incredibly complex process of multi-platform distribution but they also need to change to ensure everyone gets the most out of this opportunity.
Consolidated sales and buying points across all devices ensure that brands and agencies consider the power of each layer of the total TV onion, with linear TV as the base from which they build their schedules. Buying teams need to move beyond digital as simply pre-roll and embrace platforms such as mobile and live streams of gaming as part of the mix, all connected by data which allows advertisers to reach their target audiences in a consistent and optimized manner.
It is already possible to schedule and deliver audience optimization and improved campaign management across video and linear TV.
Brands need to be reassured that digital can now not just deliver extended reach at scale but also prove its own ROI. The work to build a common measurement and audience verification system has started in the US with Nielsen/comScore but the UK still needs that transparency. A key element to brand confidence will be to have cross-platform accountability and common measurement standards, this means that all players, including Google and Facebook, open up and allow third party verification.
The second element of reassurance is that we need to prove the value of video-on-demand to advertisers. Given that such campaigns can cost more than a traditional linear campaign, due to factors such as data cost, headcount to service and intermediaries, proving the incremental value is vital.
Studies like our own Gain Theory work prove this incremental value. The increased ROI from video when used in conjunction with linear TV is 1.27x on average, furthermore, that optimal ROI is achieved when video represents on average 12.8% of total AV budget. These are some initial data points, there is still more work to do in terms of understanding how different ads might have a different impact at different moments and on different screens.
All this work is increasingly important because the heart of the onion is about to open up. Players like C4 are working on their data offering, Sky, BT and Virgin along with many other broadcasters in Europe are working hard to develop addressable TV advertising solutions.
We predict that in 2017 we’ll see piloting and launching of ad tech stacks by broadcasters to check that this new technology can bring them the solutions they require and 2018 will be the year when real scale emerges in the true cross platform targeting of video advertising across the ecosystem.
This is a huge opportunity to further evolve what is already a great advertising medium, as viewers engage not just in today’s must watch live linear shows but also with content across all digital platforms. By harnessing the benefits of digital targeting TV will become stronger.
But we can only do that if we work with TV not against it.
Jana Eisenstein, Videology, managing director, EMEA