Poor practices in ad tech have given data usage a bad name. However, using data for advertising is the only way forward. We'll have to be smarter as there's no going back to panels and guess work. But where ad tech meets broadcast there is a problem: The flow of data between broadcast and digital is not well established. Cookies are the standard tactic for digital but that doesn't exist on broadcast. Maybe part of the solution has been in front of us all along. It's not that we didn't see it; we've been staring at it on average five hours a day according to Nielsen. Ryan Reed (pictured above), Director of Innovation, TV/Video at Lotame -- a leading independent data management platform (DMP) -- thinks the television set itself can help connect the two media channels together.
Rob Beeler: Where are we on the path toward convergence?
Ryan Reed: We're at an interesting inflection point. Traditional linear TV either accessed through an antenna or through cable or satellite provider is showing diminishing returns. That's because it's only being measured in broad demographics. Subscriber numbers are down for a lot of networks, the overall ratings are sliding. It's not that fewer people are watching the content, it's that they're watching the content across many different devices and screens. The audience is spread out over things that aren't measured in the traditional way. In order for traditional linear television to capture its impact, it's going to have to define itself as a part of the overall consumer journey and be measurable in that way. That's why we're being forced to solve this problem as an industry.
Beeler: But it's not like digital is the end-all/be-all of media.
Reed: What we're all trying to do is capture the best of both worlds. The question is can we bring those digital metrics and targeting capabilities together with the allure of television. It's a 60-inch screen in your living room where everything is cinematic. It's much more influential. But as viewership fragments, it's harder for marketers to know that their investments are in the right place. Those are the questions marketers are starting to ask, and a lot of it's because that's what they get from digital. There's this new generation of marketing professionals who are used to having this detailed data analysis at their fingertips and don't start out with buying GRPs and consider their job done.
Beeler: So you see a move away from a panel-based approach?
Reed: As more data becomes available, the methodology is going to shift to how to use data science and AI and machine learning to make sense of this massive amount of data I have across every touch point. You're going to have so much of this information available that you can't just boil it down to one or two metrics. It's going to take big data chops to make sense of it.
Beeler: And in the meantime?
Reed: We have this growing family of smart TVs out there that have data on viewership that's anonymously captured. You can actually tie it to other data points, and then get more granular information. You can take these digital segments and say, 'all right, this is what I am targeting online. What would be the corresponding television programs that I should buy in a linear sense to reach those same consumers at a more efficient rate?'
Beeler: Wait. You can get data from the television set itself and use that for digital targeting?
Reed: Yes. We can push to all the different digital demand side platforms (DSPs) and create a linear TV reporting mechanism that can rate all the TV viewing the same way that traditional ratings would be. The only difference is that instead of being limited to certain household panelists or to only be limited to data you can match through PII, the entire digital ecosystem is your playground for defining an audience and finding out what the right linear TV content would be to advertise on.
Beeler: Better targeting on both linear and on digital when you layer in the smart TV data.
Reed: All this data is out there, it's just a matter of being able to put it together in a comprehensive way.
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