Tech viewpoint on TV and programmatic
A view from Martyn Bentley

Tech viewpoint on TV and programmatic

The question "Has the time come for programmatic to play a vital role in the delivery of TV ads?" is increasingly on the lips of those in the ad industry. It’s being driven by new solutions using improved data and technology entering the marketplace, aiming to make TV advertising more efficient.

Savvy people in the media industry know that TV can benefit from programmatic and real-time bidding. After all, it’s proving itself in the online world with the ability to serve the right ad to the right user at the right time in a measurable format. It can deliver personalised ads and media based on prior intent, audience data or any other data set that can be plugged in. However, to sound a note of caution, there are some important hurdles the industry faces before it becomes truly mainstream.

First, with TV, it would be a programmatic inventory buy based on data, not real time, because there are no cookies. Also, it doesn’t offer the same automated workflow as other digital programmatic media such as display or mobile. There are manual elements and various stakeholders that will make true automation challenging.

Can we be sure the person in front of the TV is the person who made that search for a holiday

Second, programmatic vendors or media owners need to bring in all first-, second- or third-party data sets to inform the buy to adapt to 1:1 delivery – something they are not currently capable of doing. Importantly, despite the fact that smart TVs and set-top boxes offer the opportunity to garner learnings from consumers, this hasn’t reached the right level of scale yet, mostly due to the number of manufacturers, and the number of people who are truly connecting it and registering it. There might be false positives where the box may not be turned off, which skews the results. Then the manufacturers and consumers need to be OK with the transmission of non-personally identifiable information.

Also, with programmatic TV, can we be sure the person in front of the TV is the person who made that search on Google for a holiday? Perhaps the whole family is sitting there – and it’s certainly event TV and shared viewing that capture the biggest brand budgets at the moment.

What’s needed for programmatic TV to scale is a more efficient process to allow for various data sets to inform the buy and reporting on the effectiveness of it vis-à-vis other digital channels. This is not an easy task, yet it’s good to see that some of the major players in the TV space are focusing on it.

Perhaps the adoption of programmatic on TV will initially power a more efficient approach to branding – which, coincidently, is in line with the big brands looking more at programmatic for their online spend.

It just depends on how programmatic can prove itself as a route that can use real-time data in this media, and demonstrate how it can build brands as well as drive sales.

Martyn Bentley is the regional vice-president, UK at Chango