Optimization And Segmentation Shine With Promise For Spot Ads

The emerging tools require much data harnessing, training and software improvements, among other issues, but the upside is enormous, industry leaders said at a TVNewsCheck webinar last week.

Stations are tackling a load of issues related to two advertising tools that are a real mouthful to say and a shining promise for spot sellers: optimization and segmentation.

Among the challenges is the need to harness the huge amount of data involved and train people to use it. Figuring out who pays for the statistical sets, and which ones will be the most valuable, also comes into play. And there is also the need for software improvements. Yet all of those speed bumps could lead to a much more exciting business, made all the more so by the addressability that ATSC 3.0 will provide.

Those were major takeaways from a TVNewsCheck Working Lunch Webinar last Wednesday (July 28), moderated by this journalist. It included leaders at two station groups, a media agency and an automated platform for spot TV sales.

Before going further, some definitions: Optimization is the process of making sure that a campaign grabs the attention of targeted consumers with minimal waste. It might focus on greater brand loyalty or attracting new customers to brands that advertise.

Segmentation allows agencies and their clients to optimize campaigns by separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff, culling info about consumers from rich databases that often include psychographic and behavioral information.

“The audience is at the center of every one of our plans,” explained Heather Gundry, SVP, group director at DentsuX. “We need to optimize each campaign, each message, each dollar to really assure that we’re continuing to reach that [targeted] audience.”


Heather Gundry

Clearly, both segmentation and optimization involve an understanding of how one medium differs from another, and what to expect from each. And Gundry acknowledged that spot is prized for its massive scale and the ability to geo-target. Sure, other media may have more granular data for campaigns. But “we aren’t moving money out of spot,” she assured the other panelists. In fact, as spot’s ability to target and optimize grows, its share of the media mix could increase as well.

In explaining spot’s unique position, Will Offeman, chief product officer at WideOrbit, said: “It’s vitally important to understand that you’re getting a lot of extra viewers for the audience you’re buying. And you’re going to index that audience based on whatever data that you have.”

Will Offeman

“Waste, for us, is subjective,” added Jon Camera, VP, northeast, at Disney Ad Sales Local. “With local television, we know that we’re planting a seed, so while we may not exactly hit the target that we’re looking for, we do want to be the first voice in [the consumer’s] ear.”

Over the last couple of years, The E.W. Scripps Co. has been hard at work to make optimization and segmentation more possible. And a lot of that has involved “building dashboards, as crazy as that sounds,” said Missy Evenson, the company’s VP sales, local media. Her team has access to a “massive” amount of data. “Now it’s about figuring out the best ways to extract it.” The process also involves educating buyers and sellers about how to use the analytics.

Gundry said she’s pleased that stations are now coming to her team with data that the agency hasn’t had access to before. Camera mentioned that his group benefits from consumer data from Disney’s various businesses, including retail, travel and entertainment units.

Jon Camera

But outside data can be very expensive, Evenson noted. “I think we’ll have to work in partnership with our agency clients on identifying what really matters … and who can bear the cost of that.”

DentsuX has a huge data workhorse in its stable, the M1 research unit, which is able to track more than 300 million people with tagged ID’s. The segmentation and optimization analyses that M1 creates is used by DentsuX for a lot of addressable and national buys. “We’re able to see the lift for any of our products. We’re able to see some sales outcomes,” Gundry said. What’s more, “we can use our clients’ first-party information and marry it up with publisher information.”

Both automotive and retail clients have benefited from campaigns using M1 data. And Dentsu has also used a combo of M1 and Comscore data for grocery store chain campaigns.

Disney Ad Sales Local has also answered the segmentation “call” by providing brand lift and attribution studies that can take place before or after a campaign runs. “In the travel category, we recently did one tied to the Oscars, showing the future consideration lift and awareness of destination,” Camera said, adding that the data also showed consumer thoughts about the advertiser, which is an airline.

Scripps and Disney also are involved with specialized community events that don’t necessarily show up air and that attract particular types of consumers that advertisers are after. “We’ve done several of those partner projects this year, and the results are outstanding,” Evenson said. “[Clients] see a lift in all the Google analytics tracking and website traffic and even foot traffic.

“If you’ve got an agency or client partner that’s willing to do something out of the box that way, it’s a ton of fun,” Evenson added.

Missy Evenson

WideOrbit has also made some recent progress by partnering with ProVantageX on an integrated solution for supply-side inventory yield optimization. With the added prediction capabilities, its audience delivery optimization (ADO) toolset is better able to determine the best viewership opportunities, Offeman explained. “We’re trying to get the maximization of [a targeted] audience for the stations and to the buy side.” That will become more refined over time, he added.

Clearly, the introduction of ATSC 3.0 will bring a huge updraught to the data capabilities that stations are able to offer up to advertisers. “I think it will be a gamechanger,” Gundry said.

“NexGen TV, or ATSC 3.0, elevates local over-the-air broadcasters to the same game that the CTV and OTT providers are in already,” Offeman said, referring to connected TV and over-the-top services. “It will enable true addressability to the household level — or the device level, for that matter.”

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