An Update on Advanced Advertising

By Media Insights Archives
Cover image for  article: An Update on Advanced Advertising

They say that the more things change the more they stay the same.  The recent Advanced Advertising Summit was notable in that the issues facing the industry seem to remain the same year after year.  But the good news is that technology is advancing to a point where the ability to seamlessly integrate digital and linear is ever closer to launch.  Another positive change is the presence of more and more research and data executives in attendance at these types of conferences.  When I first attended these events, there were few of my research compatriots there.  Now we are even on sales panels!

Challenges in Advanced Advertising

In his keynote, Irwin Gotlieb, Senior Advisor WPP, explained that while advanced advertising has been around for years, it is not scalable yet.  It is "somewhat scalable today," he said.  "There are two minutes an hour (available) in local but it is not scalable in terms of support systems or inventory."  On the bright side, according to Gotlieb, there are no technology obstacles because companies such as WPP made deep investments in tech years ago.  But there continue to be business obstacles where short term thinking, intra company fiefdoms and local vs national interests have enabled digital to "eat TV's lunch."

Scaling from a test to a full buy is another aspect of scalability that brings pain to the industry.  "We can always get clients to start a test but have to find ways to scale that will trigger the technology to make it happen," Dan Riess, Executive Vice President of Ignite, WarnerMedia, noted.  As a stopgap, he starts manually "to see how it works."  But there are "so many different datasets, for example, that make it hard to scale."  Ultimately, we "need to move faster," he said.

Legacy systems are another challenge.  Mike Mayer, Executive Vice President Sales Solutions, NBCU, explained that they are taking a "one order, one report approach," but if the order trail takes them from a legacy to legacy system, the buy has to be put together later.  "It's complicated," he admitted, and it "can't change overnight."

Add to this the issue of silos.  "Walled gardens make it difficult to develop business," asserted Jennifer Koester, Director of Telco and Distribution Partnership, Google.

The solution is "more standard segments," said Maureen Bosetti, Chief Investment Officer, Initiative.  "How it is being measured, more standardization and a privacy standard on identification," with full compliance.

Positives in Advanced Advertising

But it's not all doom and gloom.  Many aspects of advanced advertising are hugely successful, offering manifold opportunities for both digital and television.  Although linear TV is declining in usage, TV as a whole is adapting well to this multi-platform, advanced advertising ecosystem.  Jason Brown, Senior Vice President, Head of Ad Sales partnerships at Xandr Media finds that granular data enables us to "reach micro segments," where the result is that "many advertisers are moving up the funnel," and "TV is now full funnel for purchases, depending on the category."  This has resulted in "price hikes well beyond inflation."

If there is one thing that TV does well, it is storytelling, noted Paul Alfieri, Chief Marketing Officer, Cadent.  Within the realm of advanced advertising, "a marketer can tell their story to consumers where they are and when they want.  Is it seamless and we close the loop."  TV, he added, is learning from digital.  "The industry has simplified it into one funnel and advertising is getting more sophisticated," he said.  "It's happening quickly because of paradigms you have in digital."

No one is complacent.  Many companies are creating their own systems that address advanced advertising like NBCU's CFlight which, according to Mayer, "combines linear with digital impressions and sells deals with total impressions."  Others are joining consortiums like Vizio's Project OAR, which stands for Open Addressable Ready.  Project OAR includes Disney's Media Networks, Turner, Xandr, Comcast's FreeWheel and NBC Universal, CBS, Discovery, Hearst Television, AMC Networks and Inscape with the goal to define technical standards for linear and on-demand formats on smart TVs.

Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group, recommended a "focus on education on both the strategy and investment side." He sees a big shift from linear TV to a more expansive view of TV in the digital space where we "can use same strategic targets."

Conclusion

So, yes, there are still vexing challenges in getting advanced advertising to scale, especially in national inventory, and we still need to agree on standards for measurement, segments and protocols.  But the industry is hyper-focused on these addressing issues, often working together and always committed to progress.  That might be the greatest positive of them all.

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