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You Say You Want A Revolution — So Let’s Do Something About It

by Jack Bamberger, November 08, 2021

In 1968, John Lennon wrote some famous lyrics — with a great opening guitar riff, no less — that has made an enduring impression on generations.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
……
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

Who knew that John Lennon was an ad-tech analyst as much as he was a musician?

Although these lyrics are more than 50 years old, my favorite Beatles eloquently stated what is happening in front of us all today. We’re in the midst of a multi-screen media revolution, moving away from practices developed for a marketplace with finite suppliers, fewer screens, and limited data.

For years, the media industry has clamored for “a new way” to operate and execute media in a fragmented, multi-screen, data-enabled market. But few marketers and agencies are walking the walk, or as John Lennon might say, they don’t know how to properly start a revolution.

It is time for the “talk” to stop and for the revolution to begin. Media buyers love facts, so here are a few facts that demonstrate how radically consumer viewing behavior has changed:

  • Linear TV ratings down 40% against A18-49 in the past 5 years
  • Linear TV ad spending relatively flat in past 5 years
  • Average time spent with digital video is up +34% since 2019
  • All TV growth is expected to come from Connected TV (CTV)

As consumer behavior changes, so too must the buyer’s approach to the marketplace. So rather than talk about process, it’s time for us to create a process that causes the right kind of revolution that we need.

Waste Not, Want Everything.

Before that first step in the journey takes place, we need to first assess the pain points that lie in front of us. After all, every revolution starts because something is wrong with the status quo, and someone decided that we’re not gonna take it anymore.

The result of significant consumer viewing change and not enough change on the buy side has resulted in excess waste: impressions wasted by targeting the wrong strategic target, or too much frequency against the same person or too much time wasted using outdated models, or inefficient workflows, or lost revenue opportunities. Waste is the enemy in our much needed revolution.   

So, at Amobee we have declared waste “the enemy” and we have created an optimization platform that eliminates waste, restores client value, AND grows ROAS in this fragmented, complex, multi-screen world.  No matter what sector you’re playing — from CPG to automotive to retail to travel — you can scream and sing about needing a revolution, but only action will yield results.

The Way to Less Waste

The first step to eliminating waste is to unify your audience across screens. Most planners spend significant time with their research teams and their clients digging through the vast amounts of data to identify their best prospect. They create and refine their strategic target as if it was the lyrics for the next great song to inspire a generation. They then use this masterpiece target to create their media plan. The amazing thing that happens next is that this strategic target is shared with buying teams, and too often those teams execute buys against old fashion age/sex demos. They throw away the master lyrics and pull out the tried and true song they know by heart. The proof is in the pudding. Less than 20% of the linear TV marketplace is transacted through data-enabled linear buys. CTV and digital video afford the opportunity to bring digital targeting mechanics to premium content, yet too few of the buys are executed against these strategic targets as well. So the first battle in our revolution needs to be to kill age/sex demos and start regularly transacting on strategic targets and high valued audiences across all screens. We can help you do this with ease. 

The next step is to ensure you are working as a unified team. In a revolution, teams need a coordinated strategy for success. A unified team can slay the enemy, a siloed team gets spliced into small brigades that fall to the enemy. This occurs in media when TV, digital and programmatic teams are not playing off of the same playbook. Waste is created across screens when the buy is not simultaneously optimized and executed so that media companies can be tested to secure the best inventory – or as a buyer, you move on to your next choice in your waterfall of options. Handoffs are great in football, but not for the work that Amobee does. It wastes time, money and resources, and is clearly not revolutionary; it multiplies waste before anything positive can even happen.  

In order for a revolution to create momentum — and to chip away at the amount of wasted resources — teams must be inclusive. We will not see the type of change we want unless planning, buying, and activation are done on a holistic basis using data and technology that operates across more than digital alone. When buyers use data-enabled targeting as a base for currency guarantees and optimizations, we start to see savings.

Next, as a revolutionary, you must think like the person you are trying to protect – the consumer. More now than ever, consumers move seamlessly between screens and content to optimize their personal viewing experience based on the best available screen at a moment in time. Marketers and agencies need to approach planning and buying with this same fluid mentality. 

If you are planning and buying in silos, you are playing with tools from the Revolutionary War era, not with tools built for the complexities of the 2020s. For true impact and change, you no longer can plan in silos or even plan sequentially, taking the results of one marketplace (linear TV, as an example) and using that to make better digital direct or programmatic decisions. 

Being linear-aware based on historical performance is the equivalent of being love-aware. It’s nice to know how past love affairs made you feel, but to love in the moment, you have to go all in with your head, heart, and spirit. Dance through the marketplace like the revolutionaries in 1968 during the Summer of Love.

Third, connect your data to technology with a powerful decisioning engine to forecast as opposed to “relying on the past.” The revolution I believe in forges technology AND data science, together, to optimize channels simultaneously, so each channel truly accounts for the others.

There is this myth that many teams defend that there is enough value in linear-aware planning, but that is not enough for the revolution we seek. Here’s the reality: linear-aware is NOT a revolution, nor is it good enough today. Linear-aware planning is only based on historical data and is not a good indication of future performance. You must plan based on forecasted delivery, not on historical delivery.

The media revolution must shift toward “optimized planning,” but that does not complete the journey. You need to tie your planning goals directly to your buying technology. And the only way to get there is to combine inventory supply AND buying modalities into one integrated technology platform to deliver a plan that maximizes reach against your strategic target. You must be able to make decisions that account for linear buys, direct digital buys AND programmatic buys simultaneously. This is the diet of a revolutionary.

So as you sit at your desk frustrated with the marketplace and solutions to overcome the chaos, think about how you can contribute to the Amobee revolution. We ALL play a role in eliminating waste, and together, we can look at how we all shape our clients’ futures.

Nothing would make me happier than to take the media industry forward to unify audiences across channels to optimize for better results, eliminating waste in the system and growing business for all.

Just as John Lennon said, “…you ask me for a contribution…we’re all doing what we can.”  

So here’s my question to all of you: how can each of us play a role in this revolution?  Drop me a line or share your thoughts for everyone to see.

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