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Audience Delivery Is the Next Challenge for Programmatic TV

January 3rd, 2018   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas   ||    No Comments

Advertisers are already fed up with the fraud and lack of brand safety associated with digital advertising. Now, add to that a new concern: audience delivery. It’s an issue that should be top of mind for TV stations as well.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is working hard to address the lack of transparency, uncertain viewability, and outright fraud associated with programmatic digital advertising, releasing updates to its OpenRTB 3.0 real-time bidding framework for public comment. The complex proposal includes cryptographically signed bid requests, specs for an “Advertising Common Object Model,” and a standard for the creative approval process for buyers and sellers.

It’s a complicated response to a multifaceted problem.

What, Exactly, Is the Problem?

Acknowledging all these issues, Nielsen’s Megan Clarken chimed in with a warning about a deeper problem—the under-delivery of intended audiences.

“Across digital campaigns targeted to the TV currency demo (persons 18–49), Nielsen sees on average only a 68 percent delivery on target, a number which only decreases as you shrink the target to be more precise,” Clarken wrote.

She added that Nielsen’s research shows audiences bought on the basis of data from set-top boxes and third parties are likely to deliver only half of the impressions expected in the target demographic.

What Can Programmatic TV Do?

Stations using programmatic platforms need to counter these concerns before they spread to linear television. They must prove they can deliver the audience an advertiser expects. This is certainly the promise of programmatic television buying, after all. A single platform for buying and tracking delivery streamlines the process for media buyers. Real-time tracking and reporting lets them know immediately when their spots are running and to whom they’re being delivered.

In a case where audience delivery falls short of campaign goals, media buyers and TV stations can more efficiently make up the impressions during the course of the campaign—rather than afterward.

But agencies can be wary of these claims, thanks to the tendency of startups in the tech sector to hype vaporware, as well as the grave issues with programmatic digital ads. Therefore, TV stations that offer programmatic buying to their clients should offer more than just a sales pitch. Their presentations should include hard data from real campaigns validating audience delivery.

Third-party solutions and emerging technologies for validating audience delivery have a future role to play here as well. At the 2017 TV of Tomorrow Conference, a panel discussed the use of blockchain technology for ad validation. (Blockchain is a system for creating a transparent and secure record of a series of events or transactions.)

But in the short term, TV ad sales reps need to be prepared to answer tough questions about audience delivery—and back up their answers with data.

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