“Crises have a way of forcing and accelerating change,” says Jane Clarke, MD and CEO of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement. Prior to the COV(D-19 pandemic, buyers and sellers were already moving full steam ahead with a focus on audience-based buying or impressions-based buying in a manner that made consideration of the platform and the audience it could deliver predominant; now, with the total disruption of some foundational elements of TV and video, advertisers are not just looking for “impressions” but entire categories of viewers. Clarke tells what CIMM members are doing to help marketers manage their business now, and into the future.
Rethinking approach to advertising
With the unprecedented shifts occurring in audience viewing, advertisers across product categories are taking different approaches according to the kind of economic hit they’re feeling in this crisis. Certain advertisers have had to go dark and retool; others are shifting from product messages to brand messages and some are just going forward with existing campaigns, but being smart about using data to find the audiences they want to buy. Many CIMM member companies are supporting marketers to make these decisions, and one way is to use new forms of Smart TV and STB data to help advertisers be more efficient about finding audiences, and managing the frequency of impressions.
Reallocating ad spend by finding audiences in new places
Almost all parts of the TV ecosystem are experimenting with the highly granular Smart TV and STB data now available to determine how to best reallocate ad dollars that had been committed to sports and live event programming that are no longer available, or away from content such as news that at the moment may not be appropriate for them. The investment the industry has made over the years in advancing the use of granular data is paying off now as buyers and sellers alike have at their disposal sophisticated systems to enable such decision making. These systems should only accelerate as we move out of the crisis, as marketers will need to be even more efficient with how they spend their marketing dollars.
Creating new avenues for content
Despite the current crisis, streaming services are continuing to launch – with Quibi on April 6, Comcast’s Peacock on April 15 and HBO Max slated for May. With OTT holding the audience gains made since stay-at-home orders were put in place, the new services are already finding success, as showcased by Quibi already having reached 1.7 million downloads within its first week. Even Disney+, which launched earlier this year, has held its own having passed 50 million subscribers on April 8. The unique ability to connect with captive audiences at this time, may further accelerate overall trends to such services at the expense of linear TV even post crisis.
Realizing that it is a one platform TV/premium video world in reality
There are now about 20 different flavors in how advertisers can buy inventory across all the forms of TV and premium video: linear, data-driven linear, VOD, addressable (using MVPD systems or new DAI technology), CTV, digital video, etc. Marketers would like to be able to buy the inventory in a holistic way to find the audience they want across all the different forms of TV/video. Now that they have started experimenting with buying TV audiences in data-driven ways, they want to be able to apply the same approach across all the TV/premium video inventory, rather than using the siloed approach that still exists today. Crises have a way of forcing and accelerating change, since marketers need to be smarter and more efficient, so there is hope for creating better ways to buy audiences across an “omni-platform” or a normalized, interoperable “uni-platform.”