Today over 50% of UK households consume TV and video content from digitally connected devices. In addition to live streaming the take-up of on-demand services such as 4OD has been significant. Add in the number who watch YouTube channels every day and it is clear that linear TV is no longer the primary mode of consumption.
With TV shifting to Internet delivery, this opens up huge new advertising opportunities, however, programmatic TV is still in its infancy. High quality TV inventory is in short supply and programmers and distributors have yet to fully begin effectively tapping into this new revenue stream and maximising their yields.
The promise of programmatic TV offers compelling opportunities for both brand advertisers and media owners resulting in viewers seeing far more relevant content than ever before.
Programmers and distributors will be able to monetise all of their inventory and trade on impressions rather than shows and advertisers, including those new to TV, will benefit from higher ROI. For advertisers, programmatic TV and digital video operates at an entirely different price point to traditional TV advertising; with entry level campaign costs on a par with display ads, the market is opening up to a huge array of much smaller brands.
One of the standout benefits of programmatic TV is the incredible targeting potential. The combination of in-depth subscriber information with a range of first, second and third party data sources enables providers to offer incredibly granular data-driven segments. Sky is already exploring these options through its AdSmart scheme, for example, combining household car ownership/insurance renewal data to offer a very specific set of target households. Combining this deep insight with the digital delivery technology provides an opportunity to serve different households with personalised and relevant advertising.
This model is so much more compelling than the traditional demographic and genre type targeting that is based on GRPs and typifies linear TV advertising. It reduces wastage, improves the ability to reach direct to the target audience and, combined with a lower cost of entry, in-campaign performance data and optimisation offers a higher return on investment. Indeed, with new measurability technology now gaining wider acceptance, it is becoming far easier to track campaign performance and refine activity accordingly.
Of course, there are challenges in this market – not least the publishers’ and broadcasters’ level of commitment. Low supply and high demand for TV content is being widely discussed and publishers and broadcasters need to think about the way in which individuals are now consuming TV and video content and recognise the huge potential they hold to monetise this inventory on an impression basis.
Just as the print media initially had valid concerns about the role programmatic would play in reducing their control over display advertising, the truth is the industry has evolved – and publishers have created more sophisticated models to support advertising demands and the need for efficiencies alongside high quality inventory.
This approach is required within the broadcast markets – not only must broadcasters respond to brand demands for more high quality inventory but they must actively tap in to the huge audience potential. For example, today ITV sells X Factor as reaching a certain age and demographic that in fact only represents 30% of the actual audience – there is a huge opportunity to sell that programme to other advertisers looking to reach other segments of the audience with the right approach.
With so much detailed audience information available now there is no need to use show ratings as a proxy for audience; brands should be able to pick and choose the exact audience they want to reach.
This is a market that is evolving fast. Programmatic platforms for digital video buys and video on demand is being embraced with support for programmatic TV in the linear space set to take off as advertisers and programmers look to reap the benefits of applying digital advertising efficiency models to TV advertising.
Programmatic TV and digital video can offer data-driven targeting, cross-screen campaigns, measurable ROI – and lower entry levels. Yet, while interest is rising fast in programmatic, brands lack confidence. Nearly seven in ten (70%) respondents to the Unruly Programmatic Video Pulse Survey revealed they had siphoned some of their TV budgets into programmatic video over the last year.
Even so, fewer than half of marketers considered their programmatic video knowledge to be “good” or “very good” – and only half of marketers surveyed feel comfortable executing a programmatic video campaign.
Many are unsure whether this activity should fall under the remit of traditional TV ad buying or digital. The truth is the two are very different and require different skills. Some advertisers have many years’ experience in direct response campaigns and using data to drive marketing and advertising; they understand both the data driven approach required to plan and buy, monitor, measure and continually refine to drive better results – and that getting the right results requires an inherent market understanding over and above the essential data insight. Given the clear lack of brand confidence and knowledge in the market, getting the right programmatic expertise is an essential step.
The opportunities offered by programmatic TV and digital video are fascinating – and with it being far more accessible to new TV advertisers there is a chance for brands of every size to add TV and video to the overall marketing mix for the first time.
Charlotte Summers is media planning group head at Equimedia