What would you say is the best part of any live event? For me, it’s witnessing the unexpected. It’s why we’re drawn to turn on the Premier League game or attend a concert – we are hoping to encounter that moment of discovery. Or even magic. And when something extraordinary unfolds before our eyes, we experience a level of inspiration or revelation.
The same holds true for live events within our dear ad tech industry. It gives us the chance to mix and mingle our thoughts and perspectives amongst one another, with the underlying hope that the conversation surfaces a new, profound idea, rather reliant on that collision of inquisitive mindsets.
So, what triggers these “newly” brilliant collective ideas? Questions. The kind of questions that come from one person bouncing their perspective off of someone else. The kind of questions that only happen live.
So here are my top three thought-provoking questions, conversations and answers from Mediatel’s The Future of TV Global Event which happened at Kings Place, London earlier this month. For the sake of brevity, I have paraphrased all of the questions and answers for you. If you did not get the chance to attend, fortunately, there will be a virtual broadcast of the event on January 19-20, 2022.
1. If linear viewing is increasing among adults 65+, why are brands shying away from targeting this demographic group? Don’t they represent a major stronghold of wealth right now?
A: [Bobi Carley, Head of Media and Diversity & Inclusion Lead at ISBA] I don’t believe they are shying away from a particular demographic, but rather trying to wrangle measurement across channels as a whole. It’s no surprise that the digital wave of the past decade (plus a global pandemic) has increased the pressure on marketing departments to hit short-term revenue goals. In effect, proving the ROI of TV compared to the quick fix of digital KPIs is a larger challenge to communicate to the executive board.
A: [Gill Hind, COO at Enders Analysis] This issue is only further exacerbated when there is no presence of Marketing executives on the company’s board. By driving more presence in the most senior of rooms, companies can ensure they don’t lose sight of the long-term branding amidst the quick fix digital KPIs. An issue of seeing the forest through the trees.
2. The CTV opportunity has shown to deliver a huge impact on financial markets, as investors apply multiples and high valuations on companies who are seen to receive a “slice of the CTV pie”. As of now, there are not enough pounds in the ecosystem to deliver against the forecasted growth expected by investors. What are the challenges and opportunities for two traditional players, like Channel 4 and Discovery, who are trying to grow into this space?
A: [Katie Coteman, Vice President of Advertising and Partnerships at Discovery] It was evident that Discovery needed a stronger first party relationship with consumers, which is a similar challenge for other media owners. However, the decision between AVOD and SVOD poses challenges. For example, which one do you choose? Do you create one product that tries to hit everyone, or different products for different markets? One large learning we’ve had is that some content drives subscribers, but does not necessarily keep them there…so there’s this continual pressure to upsell them to other content in order to get them to stay.
A: [Veriça Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4] In regards to content production, one key opportunity that we are currently in development with is the optimisation of content based on device type. Not only is this shown in the data whereby certain types of content are more commonly viewed on a mobile device versus the big screen, but the viewers’ engagement level is different, so we want to build content from the ground up that has the viewers’ end-device-viewing format in mind. With the diversity of content and buying options, we’ve begun to see a trend in programmatic guaranteed deals being favoured by medium and large brands who plan far ahead on traded CPMs, while the private marketplace model gives buyers an opportunity to perhaps win impressions at an advantageous cost where they can benefit instantaneously from seasonality and test new tactics.
A: [Paola Colombo, General Manager of Adtech at Publitalia ’80] An obvious challenge that occurred at the onset of COVID was that many “traditional advertisers” had to pull back from their planned ad campaigns; however, that actually became an enormous opportunity for others to join in, which resulted in increased brand and ad diversity across the programmes. This brand and ad diversity continues to grow with the number of buying options that we offer to the market….my advice to other media owners trying to take advantage of CTV– it’s imperative that you give buyers choices, make sure your inventory is easily discoverable, and available to the right types of buyers.
3. There is a resounding cry for measurement in this space. What rules have we learned so far and what or who is required to partner together to provide a unified solution? Note that BARB provided a 5-minute interlude pitch around their newest measurement product that combines linear and digital, inclusive of Youtube.
A: [Tom Sherwood, Product Lead at YouTube] At the core we need a solution with universally agreed upon standards that protects user privacy and is a collaborative creation. BARB has not pulled Google into the development of their measurement product or provided access to the data, but Google is in favour of third parties developing independent measurement solutions as long as they adhere to the core principles.
A: [Rhian Feather, Head of Media Planning at OMD] At OMD we face the challenge of normalising all of the various types of measurement solutions into a holistic planning solution. For example, BARB is at the individual level, C-Flight is at the household and Project Origin, while ambitious, has not delivered an output yet. We understand there’s crossover but the question comes down to, how do you go about comparing these to one another? As we see it, we’re trying to use the closest source of truth. Exposure to ads affects people’s reactions, not device views or other extraneous KPIs. What we want to explain to our clients is: what is the population we are trying to reach and what actions do we expect them to take from that exposure. Simple as that. And we’re eager to work with any partner who can help us deliver that promise.
Although these three thought-provoking conversations resonated with me during the event, I urge you to view the virtual broadcast when it’s made available in January. Perhaps, you’ll be able to experience your own moment of discovery and experience a level of inspiration or revelation as I have.
In summary, the entire event was a success, with one key overarching takeaway: it takes collaboration between brands, agencies, technology providers, data and inventory partners, and media owners to trigger the changes we all want to see in the advertising industry. I predict 2022 is going to be a year where synergistic alliances and ambitious partnerships define the solutions that are brought to market, and boy am I excited to be right in the middle of it all.
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