There are skeptics who claim the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” holds true in the buying and selling of television. But, the evolution of TV advertising is essential in order to keep up with the digital times. The fragmentation of audiences across media and devices, and the faster pace of the digital realm, makes programmatic technology an ideal addition to the television platform.
The Old World vs. the New
Estimates by Google show that TV ad spending will grow to an $84 billion per year by 2018. Traditionally, in linear television media buyers generally decide where to spend ad dollars during upfronts, when the networks present fall lineups. The buying process is largely manual, meaning steps like requests for proposal, insertion orders, and ad trafficking, are inefficient compared to the levels of automation that are common in digital advertising. Instead of agility and quick response, there is cumbersome communication involving a myriad of emails and exchanging of Excel spreadsheets, as well as the inability to rapidly make strategic changes based on audience reaction.
While digital programmatic and programmatic TV have differences, the latter brings simplicity and transparency to television similar to that which is expected with online advertising. Ultimately it can be characterized by two concepts: automation and data-driven decision making.
Boiled down further, programmatic TV is buying with a methodology—in other words, using algorithms to determine which spots to purchase, and when. Workflow is automated from ordering to performance monitoring, although there still is human input and the transactions take place in private marketplaces instead of real-time bidding platforms.
The programmatic step in the evolution of TV advertising enables media buyers to optimize campaigns, unify strategy across platforms, and access premium TV content at scale. A common set of data and metrics can then be used no matter the device while automation ensures efficient and transparent measurement and reporting. Budgets can then be assigned to the best performing TV spots and planning is done with the click of a mouse.
Looking Ahead to the Future
The future looks bright for both the evolution of TV advertising and programmatic tools. Videa CEO Shereta Williams predicts even more big changes for the industry into 2017 and beyond. She says, “Nielsen, comScore and other traditional measurement companies will continue to evolve and will include more spending, behavioral and psychographic data, in addition to demographic and viewing data. In 2017, there will be new metric techniques available to measure and value audiences; however, traditional types of data providers like Nielsen will not go away, but rather they will continue to be improved and enhanced.” Videa’s Senior Vice President of Revenue and Operations, Brad Smith agrees, adding: “We see this as the most significant area of focus with several new entries into this part of the programmatic ecosystem.” Evolving abilities across the industry opens up a whole new world of opportunities for media buyers, sellers, and planners.