The gap between linear ratings and numerical measurements is still a long way off when it comes to TV spots, but more and more TV channel groups have quality information to share with their customers when it’s about seeing how their purchases go.
This was last Thursday’s takeout TVNewsCheck webinar, Data, Attribution and Optimization, moderated by this journalist and with panelists Jacob Leveton, director of product management, Veritone; Shawn Makhijani, senior vice president of business development and strategy, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming and senior vice president, NBC Spot On; Jane Meyerson, SVP, Director of Local Media, ICON International; Daria Nachman, Director, Local Positioning, Disney Advertising; and Brad Thompson, SVP and Partner, Integrated Investment, UM Worldwide.
The bottom line in this space right now is that “tying linear delivery to a digital action that a consumer takes is extremely difficult,” said Thompson of UM Worldwide.
But it is a work in progress.
“I think we’ve come a long way,” said NBCU’s Makhijani. “If you rewind a bit before the world got complicated, we always had an attribution. Previously it was the store owner who said that when the commercial was on TV, all these people came into their business. people forget there’s always been attribution in our industry, it wasn’t until digital came along that we kind of got lost in the shuffle.
Local broadcast of live television is still almost impossible to follow digitally. The industry still relies on Nielsen to provide metrics – which remain ratings and broad demographics based on gender and age – and the challenges with Nielsen’s local television panel are well documented. Meanwhile, however, most local broadcasters are offering apps delivered via connected television (CTV) – services like Roku, Tubi, Pluto TV, etc. – and the number of viewers on these apps can be tracked much more closely.
“I think this ecosystem really works, and so does data targeting,” Makhijani said.
“What we could do better, of course, is automate,” he said. “We really need to automate the process, especially those attribution reports. If you’re on the digital side, where people are shopping in 100 marketplaces, that’s a lot of work if you can’t automate the process We also need to educate customers and sellers about what attribution can actually do and how we can improve it.”
“I really, really think you have to split into two ways — you have the broadcast part and the CTV part,” ICON’s Meyerson said. “I think we can all agree that the CTV play is so far away. But it is this locally broadcast piece that has not moved at all. There is hardly any data on the front-end unless a viewer is male or female in a very large demo. And then the lack of reporting, which you can get immediately from the CTV side, we have to get the broadcast side to this point or it’s a pretty bleak future for broadcast.
One company that is working to solve this problem is Veritone, an AI-driven technology company.
“I think where it gets really interesting is when we talk about marrying and aggregating data,” Veritone’s Leveton said. “Using AI technology, we do a lot of content recognition to understand what was going on before and after the spot aired. The more data you have, the more you can start to paint a big picture of what’s generating actually conversions. And I think conversion and result-based performance is really what a lot of advertisers are looking for.”
Technology, of course, will play a big part in the solution, but there is still a long way to go.
Disney’s Nachman said, “We can customize a package to maximize delivery among people who look like the people the advertiser wants to reach and minimize delivery among people who don’t. We can certainly coordinate the purchase so that the addressable part fulfills a certain function, while the linear extends the reach. I feel like linear is underrated in terms of the sophistication you can use to buy it, because we have a lot of audience information.
This also applies to optimization, Leveton said.
“The speed at which you can get data and see the signal through the noise is very important,” he said. “[Over a campaign’s] first two weeks you should probably test a variety of approaches – a variety of programs and different segments that seem like the best options, then use the data from that to try and optimize towards what actually drives success and results , and website visitation and foot traffic attendance.
“I think the one thing we’ve learned from the digital ecosystem is that this response time is getting shorter and shorter,” he said.
But there is still a lack of technology – automation and the like – that allows TV broadcasters to process, understand and act on incoming data and information as efficiently as possible.
“It’s having the technology to do [all of this] in a way that you’re not going to run over people trying to run the campaigns,” Thompson said. “We’re talking about a lot of volume and it’s hard enough from a buyer’s perspective to set up the campaigns with all the other demands they have. But trying to do something where you overlay that database, you can’t [yet] do this. Technological challenges at all levels took much longer than I expected. We are progressing. But we are not there yet. »
In fact, while technology plays an important role in solving this challenge, soft negotiation, communication, and diplomacy skills play at least an equal role. A big part of these conversations is figuring out what the industry motto will be going forward.
“I think there’s a larger challenge … around the discussion of metrics and currency and measurement,” Thompson said. “Will there be a single currency in the future? And how does that play into the attribution then? These are all things that we as an industry need to understand, and I think the industry is in a big learning position right now.
Looking ahead, TV channel executives see NextGen TV coming and look forward to the changes the new technology will bring.
“I know the data will only get better,” Nachman said. “I know the technology will improve. I mean, when NextGen comes out, it could be a game changer. I like what’s happening with content recognition. I think technology will only make us better.
Makhijani added: “[Next Gen TV] will seamlessly merge internet with broadcasts so we get data and IP tracking. That’s basically all we can do now on digital, come and stream. You’ll see that a lot of the questions that were raised about attribution on this panel will be answered, and we can extrapolate from that to what a cable viewer does.
“So there’s still a chance that what’s available live will also be available via MVPDs. [multichannel video programming distributors],” he said. “And then we’ll have a much more robust data set. It’s a dream, but one can dream.