Commentary

8 Best Practices For Evaluating A Programmatic TV Platform

As more advertisers and their media agencies evaluate tactics for implementing programmatic TV (PTV), what should they look for in PTV vendors? Media buyers at Los Angeles-based agency Quigley-Simpson which has been working with PTV for two years, offered best practices during MediaPost’s TV Insider Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Quigley-Simpson executives offered eight ways to vet a PTV solution:

No. 1: Ensure that you’re getting true automation from the platform both on the sell and buy sides. The transactions must be enabled by technology, not merely dashboards.

No. 2: Look for access to linear TV inventory. While over-the-top TV (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) inventory is important, “linear TV is the tougher nut to crack. Linear TV is truly the thing we’re trying to solve for with PTV,” said Carlos Ramirez, group director, cross-screen engagement, Quigley-Simpson

No. 3: Make sure you’re getting a truly open exchange, with no intermediary and no pre-set commitments necessary. Set specific criteria for the buyer or the seller and let the algorithm meet their needs. The true nature of programmatic is “media- and inventory-agnostic,” Ramirez said. No intermediaries means no “walled gardens” -- which can be hard to achieve in the existing programmatic ecosystem.

No. 4: Advanced targeting is key to any PTV platform. Move beyond age and gender demographics; layering in first- and third-party data targeting is a must. Programmatic is much more than just a transactional tool for advertising.

No. 5: Black and whitelist functionality are required so that advertisers can block content that’s not brand-safe. Ramirez acknowledged this is a challenge.

No. 6: Third-party verified posting is critical. “Our advertisers want that level of reporting by a Nielsen or a Rentrak,” Ramirez said.

No. 7: Advertisers need schedule and cost transparency. For example, a media schedule should provide details down to the DMA, network, time, and date that a campaign runs. Advertisers need to know what they’re paying for in media and what the ad-tech fees are. “Total transparency is needed on all costs and the media schedule,” Ramirez said.

No. 8: Identify fully automated self-service platforms that enable a complete view and collect intelligence on where the biggest opportunities lie.

Michael Berg, associate director, cross-screen engagement, Quigley-Simpson, offered two case studies. One involved a campaign that targeted allergy sufferers. “We knew that the target is most receptive to messaging by the brand when allergy symptoms are at their worst, when pollen counts are high,” Berg said. The agency used dynamic targeting at the DMA level, with  IMS Health data, to address week-to-week fluctuations in the pollen counts. “We increased our inventory buys in certain areas when the counts were average or above average and pulled back when they were lower.”

In another campaign targeting millennial men, the agency used social media affinity targeting using Nielsen’s social tool. Since this target is hard to reach on linear TV, the agency monitored conversations on social media around specific brands, as well as conversations about specific TV shows. The Nielsen data was refreshed on a weekly basis.

The benefit of programmatic is “the ability to optimize quickly and turn on a dime,” Berg said.

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