Discovery's Keith Kazerman: Data-Driven Linear a Not-So-Secret Weapon for Brands

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Cover image for  article: Discovery's Keith Kazerman: Data-Driven Linear a Not-So-Secret Weapon for Brands

As we enter 2019, brand marketers and media buyers have higher expectations than ever for television.  Whether it's addressable or over the top, there have never been more ways for viewers to watch television and premium video and for media executives to buy and measure it.  As valuable as these new tools are, they are still dwarfed by consumer viewership on, and brand investment in, traditional TV.  According to Nielsen's Total Audience Report, most viewing today is still linear and live, and the $70 billion U.S. television market is still dominated by ad agencies' investments in network television.  Brands need scale, association with brand-safe and relevant content, and proven effectiveness -- and agencies need ease of purchase and efficiency, all areas where traditional network television excel.

According to Keith Kazerman, Group Senior Vice President, Research, Data and Engage, Discovery, Inc., it isn't an either/or situation.  Data-driven linear, which matches brand, viewership and third-party data sets with the ideal inventory, offers viewers at scale and the targeting and attribution clients are looking for in advanced television.  Discovery's data-driven linear product, Engage, provides advertisers with the benefits of traditional television, measurement and attribution which are more commonly associated with digital products.

"The real pivot for us, and for the industry, is marshaling all the great first- and third-party data sources and applying that data to create more effective media plans for clients," Kazerman says.  "Years ago, it was age and gender as proxy for actual viewership, and you just hoped you were going to reach that consumer within that broad target.  Clients with their experience with digital, and the introduction of one to one with addressable, have become accustomed to getting past just age and gender."

Discovery's Engage offers brands the ability to connect advanced targets, like purchasers of a specific type of vehicle, directly to viewership to find where the highest concentration of that consumer is throughout Discovery's networks like Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network, and their digital extensions, to create the most effective and efficient media plans to reach those audiences.  "With 17 networks, we offer brand-building at scale," he notes.  "For example, in any given week, we deliver 20% of total female viewership.  Couple that scale and reach with the ability to apply advanced targeting and we can really meet multiple KPIs for an advertiser, creating awareness for a product straight down through the funnel to drive consideration and purchase."

Kazerman says that brands are increasingly drawn to data-driven solutions and that Engage can exceed their expectations.  "We've been laser-focused on how we create products from a technology standpoint and in a privacy-compliant way, and we created the important relationships that let us use clients' first-party data," he explains.  "It allowed us the flexibility to work with really any data set that a client prefers -- our product is data agnostic.  We wanted to lean in early on the attribution piece and that's where we did leverage our set-top box relationship with Altice and Comcast. We compare exposed and unexposed groups during the campaign to effectively measure business outcomes of these audience-based optimized plans."

In other words, Discovery Engage can not only identify the best places for advertisers to place their ads across Discovery's networks and digital platforms, but also give those brands the information they need to know if their campaigns resulted in actual purchases and drove positive business outcomes.

Under Kazerman's leadership, Discovery's traditional research team and Engage product and data specialists have been supporting the Discovery sales teams.  "There is real momentum here," he says.  "It's in everyone's best interest to innovate and transform because companies that are stagnant won't succeed in today's marketplace."

In 2019, Discovery expects to run over 100 campaigns across 10 different categories, from pharma to retail to CPG.  Moving forward, Kazerman anticipates that Discovery's own proprietary data in home, food, travel and auto will be added to the mix and available for brands.

Per Kazerman, while Discovery's Engage has unique benefits of scale and audience, applying data to linear is key for brands and agencies, no matter where they are advertising, and should be the first place marketers look to optimize their television investments.  "I think every network portfolio now has a data product," he concludes.  "It's important for clients to be looking at their marketplace buying decisions to apply data wherever they can."

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