The TV upfronts are coming soon, as are the online video newfronts. But where should the cross-platform advertisers go, the ones who launch campaigns across both TV and digital? To Videology’s Full Frontal, of course.
Yesterday, video advertising technology company Videology hosted its third annual Full Frontal mini-conference in New York City. The company’s bread and butter is in pushing a cross-screen approach, as founder and CEO Scott Ferber promoted in his opening remarks, but the conference hit its stride when presenting concerns of current broadcasters and advertisers.
The video advertising ecosystem has changed dramatically in the last five years, explained Audrey Steele, executive vice president of research insights and strategy for Fox Neworks, speaking for broadcasters. While technology advances have created new content distribution strategies, that’s led to the current challenges of measuring across connected devices and solving the problem of fragmentation to scale and aggregate an audience.
“Despite fragmentation, television advertising in all of its forms is as effective, if not more efficient, than it ever was before,” Steele said. That’s because of the tools used to measure it.
Audience fragmentation presents a challenge of perception for broadcasters since advertisers see audiences shrinking. but often viewers get the same content in other ways. “Clearly, fragmentation is happening,” Steele said, but two-thirds of migrated viewing shows up on other platforms, Fox research shows.
Using data to drive automation—advanced TV, in Videology-speak—is important because it allows broadcasters to forge a deeper relationship with clients that focuses on their individual business goals, Steele said, rather than treating them as purely transactional relationships. This year, Fox will focus on expanding the data sets it makes available to advertisers.
“I think every year for the past three has been the year for data,” Steele said. One pain point now is analyzing results across networks and data sets, creating a system that allows buyers to scale.
For the advertisers, Full Frontal presented Christine DiLandro, senior vice president and head of media and integrated marketing with Citi, and Bruce Dincin, senior director for marketing and media strategy with Choice Hotels. They made a good pair, as DiLandro is concerned with top-of-the-funnel awareness and Dincin with lower-funnel return on investment.
“At the end of the day, it’s the ROI,” Dincin said, encouraging the audience to measure everything and see if it leads to sales. He needs to present results to his CFO, he said, proving how TV effects digital for cross-platform campaigns. Rather than making big commitments at the upfronts, his company will focus on being where the customers are all year-round. There’s a correlation between reach and ROI, he said, and Choice Hotels is now on 80 channels. “It’s an efficiency play for us in terms of the broadness and the reach.”
Not as concerned with ROI, Citi is willing to take a varied approach and experiment with new areas, DeLandro said. “You have to be in it in order to learn,” she said, encouraging others to know what questions they should ask, then leap in so they know what the next question will be. Citi will make larger upfront commitments, asking more than ever from core partners. Digital needs to raise brand metrics above what national TV spots can do, she stressed, or else it’s not valuable.
Finally, Videology brought out Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to close the day with a little star power. TV is the largest business in the U.S., he said, and there’s an opportunity to make money off small, niche audiences. Cable hits can do poor Nielsen numbers, yet attract big views in desired demographics.
Weiner is amazed by the flux in the TV market, where there’s now so much quality that “they’re exhausting our attention span.” American viewers are willing to watch subtitled series, and Netflix feels like “a bottomless pit of success.” He encouraged advertisers to do something interesting and relevant to break through, and be willing to spend more. Risk leads to reward, he said, and that’s better than following an easy path.