Programmatic TV: A missed opportunity for brands

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “cord cutters.”  It’s the cable industry’s worst nightmare.  It’s the been the number one disruptor to the entertainment industry as we know it.  This shift started with Netflix and has just grown

to the point that in 2016, one in five people have opted out of cable. When I moved in my apartment about a year ago, I certainly considered whether cable was worth the money. I only watch shows on Netflix, Xfinity, or HBO Go – why would I pay extra for channel I don’t watch? I don’t watch TV for channels, I just need to watch my shows.

Programmatic TV Ads vs Traditional TV Ads

Programmatic TV Advertising Vs. Traditional TV Advertising

As I watch The Handmaid’s Tale online, I put on my senior programmatic campaign manager hat and I’ve noticed something stunning:  the advertising that’s being served is from a small pool of brands. And the same commercials are shown over and over again.  I wish I could shout to all of the brands missing out on this incredible opportunity from the rooftops of my apartment building: “DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU COULD SERVE AND TEST COMMERCIALS ON POPULAR SHOWS TO HIGHLY TARGETED AUDIENCES?”

No one would hear me, of course.  But if they could, they would know that programmatic television advertising is far more cost effective than network and cable tv spots.  The effectiveness of the ads you serve via programmatic methods is far more measurable too.  So, why aren’t brands taking advantage of this incredible opportunity? Maybe they just need more information. I can help with that.

What exactly is programmatic tv?

So, much like other types of programmatic advertising, you build advertising spots that can be served to particular audiences based on data collected from around the internet to target your perfect audience.  The information gleaned from the serving of those ads is then optimized in real-time for best performance through ad platforms that companies like ours manage. It collects data on engagements to help deliver helpful insights that can serve to inform your overarching marketing strategy.

The real-time-bidding strategy in a television environment, bids on the user based on what is considered you best customer based on the goals you put in place. That means that you serve highly effective video ads to audiences that have a high likelihood of converting in a device agnostic environment. So, think about that: no matter what device, video platform, or network they’re tuned into, your ads are being served to an audience that is likely to convert. Pretty good odds for a commercial, don’t you think?

What types of programmatic TV ad options are there?

As you’re researching Programmatic TV, you’ll find articles that mention PTV with Connected, Linear, Addressable TV.  I’ve put together a quick glossary of terms so you can be a more educated marketer:

  • Linear TV: This is most closely related to traditional TV. TV that is shown through a broadcasted network at a scheduled time.
    • Example: You watch Game of Thrones when the first episode is aired on Sundays through your cable TV
  • Connected TV: TV advertising that’s delivered through a device that’s connected to the internet through over-the-top (OTT) like xyz or Smart TV apps.
    • Example: You’re watching MLB with Xfinity on your iPad
  • Addressable TV: TV advertising that’s delivered with set-top boxes like xyz using data you collect yourself (first party data) or data purchased from other sources (third party data). Addressable TV is about the person, not the program.
    • Example: You get shown an Orbitz ad on TV because you’ve shown interest in traveling whereas your neighbor gets shown a Budweiser ad because they love to buy beer.
  • OTT: This is referring to over-the-top devices or smart TVs that are connected to the internet.
    • This is referring to the Xfinity that was connected to the internet as you watched MLB on your iPad.

The potential of programmatic tv advertising

As programmatic TV is still bought and sold at the DSP level, you’re able to utilize the technology to measure engagement. But what does that mean? We’re able to track the # of seconds someone watched a video & then show them a banner ad later on their phone if they watched the whole thing.

This sort of insight gives advertisers a fresh opportunity both from a price perspective (the days of the $2M dollar SuperBowl Ad is on its way out) and from an insight perspective (you can actually measure effectiveness now).  This means that more advertisers who aren’t listed in the Fortune 500 will be able to participate in reaching television viewers in a way that’s far more meaningful to both the watcher and the business.

You might not find me shouting from the rooftops about programmatic TV, but feel like sharing this incredible opportunity it is a public service to inform brands who want to capture customers who are demonstrating buying behaviors.

What's Next?

Download a full resolution version of our Programmatic TV advertising vs. Traditional TV advertising infographic.

Priya Kapoor About the author
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