Mar 26, 2019

By Kelby Clark
The state of the industry according to executives at New York’s Advanced Advertising Summit.

At Monday’s 2019 Advanced Advertising Summit in New York City, the consensus was clear:  advanced advertising will disrupt the traditional television ad business. It offers marketers and advertisers better audience targeting and more efficient spend.

When it came to how to solve some of the hurdles that stand in the way of large-scale adoption of addressable advertising, however, the answers were less clear-cut. The summit’s panelists and speakers discussed how to get the industry's infrastructure and workforce ready and how to get to a point where providers standardize campaign data.

The future, it seems, will be informed by cooperation. As Kelly Abcarian, general manager of advanced video advertising at Nielsen explained in a keynote address, the industry’s leaders will “all need to work together to overcome” the more pressing challenges and limitations.

Thanks to the rising number of U.S. households that can be served addressable TV ads, many panelists focused on simplifying the advanced advertising process so it’s easier to invest, track, and manage the flow of ad dollars for everyone involved—buyers, sellers, tech partners, and agencies alike. To summarize the event, here are five big takeaways from the day’s insights.

Cross-channel marketing budgets will keep rising.

“It’s a catastrophic shift,” said Jonathan Steuer, Omnicom Media Group’s chief research officer, referring to how consumers watch content on several devices. “There are some people you can still reach on linear, some people you can reach in other places, and some people you can only reach on OTT.”

Because of growing audience fragmentation, industry experts touted a holistic approach made up of multiple strategies that address linear, OTT, and digital. According to a recent study by 4C, 58% of marketers said that cross-channel advertising outperforms individual media in reaching KPIs, and 80% believed that cross-channel advertising budgets will increase.

This means traditional linear TV buyers will need to think less like traditional linear TV buyers, just as digital video buyers will need to think less like digital video buyers as their worlds converge.

“TV has had an amazing tradition of bringing scale...and on the digital side there’s data and attribution,” explained Julie Sterling, director of broadcast partnerships at Google. “I think the best thing we can do is bring both of those together.”

Standardization demands cooperation, not competition.

More and more industry stakeholders are partnering or licensing their technology to make buying, selling, and measuring easier and increase the adoption of addressable advertising.

"The biggest challenge in addressable TV specifically, is that there is no one-stop shopping,"

David Campanelli

Co-Chief Investment Officer at Horizon Media

“The biggest challenge in addressable TV specifically, is that there is no one-stop shopping,” David Campanelli, co-chief investment officer at Horizon Media, explained in a panel discussion on data and technology.

Currently, advertisers tend to execute campaigns across a few providers, and post-campaign data isn’t unified, meaning it’s impossible for marketers to compare the effectiveness of their campaigns performance across multiple platforms. Standardized reporting makes for more unified targeting and measurement because marketers are getting the full picture instead of bits and pieces.

“OpenAP and CFlight are a step in the right direction toward everyone playing together,” Steuer noted.

OpenAP—a partnership created by Viacom, Turner, and Disney subsidiary Fox—was founded with the goal of introducing more standardization in the marketplace around audience segments. CFlight from NBCUniversal is a metric that measures all live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions on every platform.

And, some of the industry's biggest players are already reshaping their approach. “Historically, we were always talking about brand awareness and now we're talking about attribution,” Brendan Condon, Chief Revenue Officer at Comcast said in a panel discussion.

Addressable requires investment.

“Very few advertisers will invest enough to really make the most of addressable advertising,” said Denise Colella, NBCUniversal’s SVP of advanced advertising products & strategy. “If you’re putting the same creative in front of all the people you’ve targeted, what’s the purpose?“

Many executives agree that the power of addressable has yet to be maximized. Irwin Gotlieb, senior advisor at WPP, added that “there hasn't been as much work in creative optimization,” in a keynote conversation.

TV networks also need to open up more addressable inventory on linear television. Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales and partnerships at The Walt Disney Company, said the company made addressable a core part of its strategy, and as a result, estimates that 50% of its business will be addressable in the next five years.

“It takes a significant amount of investment,” Ferro closed.

Education is key.

"We need to make things easy for buyers to understand the value of this industry."

Kelly Abcarian

General Manager of Advanced Video Advertising at Nielsen

“If I'm used to buying certain ways in digital, it doesn't take long to transfer that to TV, but it does take education,” said Julian Zilberbrand, Viacom’s EVP of advanced media.  “We're just waiting for more education in the market to arrive.”

Buyers, sellers, and other industry stakeholders are so used to approaching the advertising process in the same way and the technology is so new that there’s still a learning curve.

“We need to make things easy for buyers to understand the value of this industry,” Nielsen’s Abcarian added in her keynote. In some cases, that may require more meetings dedicated to discussing what addressable is, how it works, and how it’s reshaping the marketplace.

“There are so many players in the market and when we speak with advertisers or agencies we spend a good chunk of the meeting explaining what they’ve heard in the market,” said Jim Wilson, president of Premion, an OTT advertising platform.

Ad-based alternatives breed new opportunity.

“The ability of the American consumer to purchase multiple services is constrained. There's no way they can do it indefinitely,” said WPP’s Gotlieb. ”In my opinion, there have to be ad-based alternatives.”

Free AVOD services provide a change of pace for consumers paying multiple monthly fees for multiple SVOD platforms, a shift which could present new revenue opportunities for publishers and new advertising opportunities for brands.

From Viacom’s recent acquisition of ad-supported platform Pluto TV to Amazon’s launch of IMDB Freedive and NBCUniversal’s announcement that it’s prepping a free, ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) service, AVOD is poised to grow.

“We believe that free is the environment that works well for the consumer,” Zilberbrand said during a panel discussion. “We believe in the ad-supported model that provides. We think it will help with everything that we’re trying to do.”

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