Tag Archives: automated TV buying

The Model Isn’t Broken. It’s Fixed.

Sony, VW, P&G, J&J, Bacardi, SC Johnson, Visa, 21st Century Fox, L’Oreal, Coca Cola, BMW, BASF. What do all these companies have in common? They all have placed their media business in review, or recently completed a review. Their incumbent media agencies; the usual suspects—OMD, Zenith, UM, Mediacom, Vizeum, Carat, Starcom/MediaVest. The agencies involved in the review; the usual suspects.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I’ve heard and read that some people believe that industry change (content, integration, analytics) is driving this rash of reviews. If so, why are the same agencies that some clients are dissatisfied with all of a sudden appealing to others? Why would OMD be a good repository for Bacardi, which they recently won, when current clients J&J and Visa have put their accounts in review? Is it because what is shown in new business pitches is not what is used on a daily basis? I witnessed much of this when I was at Initiative, albeit a dozen years ago. The people who work on client business think many of the tools and sexy stuff shown in new business pitches is just that, only shown in new business pitches. It’s not practical for everyday use because the planners have too many boxes of GRP’s to fill in. They do not have the time to solve real business problems.

So what is the value proposition of these mega-media agencies? It certainly isn’t buying leverage because smaller agencies can match the big guys on media pricing—and often beat them. The big guys speak of relationships with the media companies, but the media companies are putting more and more inventory up for sale in the open market, using exchanges to eliminate the human aspect of transactions that is rife with inefficiencies.

Others suggest that the reviews are procurement driven, which explains why only the usual list of invitees are participating. These big agencies hate losing business and they’ll promise everything to win. They have a beast to feed to perpetuate their own myth and they believe their own BS.

You don’t have to. If you want the same-old solutions join in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. If you want real change you really have to want to change.

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The Television Data Shift

Today NBCU announced that it is going to be using data other than Nielsen to help marketers better identify audience value of their networks and programs. Linda Yaccarino, the head of sales for NBCU, thinks it puts TV on an even playing field with digital media’s data driven targeting, but in reality it does not.

Using data other than Nielsen ratings to decide which TV programming to buy ads in should be more commonplace today than it is. I’m glad that NBCU has made this step and hope others follow their lead, but to suggest that now TV is on equal footing with digital is a misstatement. Why? Because I cannot tell NBCU that I ONLY want my TV ad shown to those in their audience who exhibit the behavior I value. I still need to buy a TV ad in an entire program.

Don’t get me wrong, I think NBCU is taking a big stride in improving the way marketers make decisions on which TV shows to buy but any media planner worth their salt was already using other metrics and data streams. In truth, NBCU hasn’t even caught up with what can be done on TV with this move.

If a marketer wants to use addressable video ads delivered via TV there are already methods of doing that. Rather than place a buy with NBCU I would go directly to the cable provider. Remember, for many product categories the household is the buying unit, especially FMCG. Knowing which household is buying which laundry detergent is the most important consideration for Tide. The cable provider can tell me which households had a set that my ad (and my competitor’s ad) aired on based on set top box data. Many retailers can tell me which households bought which brand based on loyalty card data. A simple list match can reveal enough households to see whether advertising has any impact on sales, but more importantly new penetration.

The cable provider can execute addressable TV. I can “serve” different TV ads into different households based on their buying behaviors. Does Tide have an advantage they want to use to steal customers from Wisk? Is there a different benefit or incentive they want to use to lure away Cheer buyers? We can do that.

Thanks NBCU, but no thanks.

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Automation Infatuation

I’m a big process, math and science guy yet I am not one to fall head over heels for programmatic buying. Last week IPG announced they would be using an automation platform for buying video inventory not just for web-distributed video but for traditional TV outlets as well. They’ve set up deals with multiple networks, local station operators and cable operators. IPG’s goal is to automate up to half of its media buying by 2016. Media Post had a quote by Tim Spengler, Magna Global CEO who said that their “goal is to ignite real change in the way media is transacted for the industry.”

 http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/207108/interpublic-strikes-deals-to-automate-buys-with-5.html?edition=63600#axzz2cVuTF8FJ

 That’s a great goal for a media buying agency. Not. I see no mention of client benefits and, in fact, the article suggests that clients could be harmed because programmatic buying isn’t an auction or a way to drive media prices down. It’s a way for sellers to set a floor price at which they will not go below. While it also enables agencies to set price ceilings the only thing it accomplishes is allowing the agency to better predict the pricing by reducing the range of pricing paid. It also removes most, if not all, of the human and qualitative factors from the show selection process. Some TV shows are better than others at adding value to a marketer’s commercial—I’ve got case studies to prove this. Robots and computers cannot discern that from the numbers they are analyzing. Some shows are highly marketable to the trade based on name alone for purposes of getting higher quality merchandising in-store. In true Real Time Bidding situations a client cannot tell the retailers in advance what programs are going to be on a buy

There are some positive aspects of these developments. Incorporating more than Nielsen audience data is in my opinion the biggest benefit.  I’m sure access to data from set-top-boxes and over-the-top boxes are part of the agreements between the cable operators and IPG, or at least I hope it is. Combining this with shopper loyalty card data on product purchases can be beneficial IF the agency is driving to the proper metric.

Programmatic buying doesn’t help an agency make better decisions for its clients as much as it helps an agency make better decisions for itself because the agency can manage more work with fewer people. It helps the sellers because they will have even more control over pricing—most notably their worst inventory–and it harms clients IF they are not using the right metrics to select programs.

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