With everyone predicting the rise of programmatic TV, the current challenge is to get established TV buyers with big budgets to start buying on the programmatic TV platforms.
As Terry Kawaja from Luma Partners points out, the traditional TV buyer is 55 years old and has planned his TV buy ever since he started his career 30 years ago, based on demos and gross rating points.
There is absolutely no incentive for him to change his behavior, and here's why:
1. No understanding
Imagine having planned your campaign the same way for 30+ years. Now, advanced targeting options emerge, e.g. overlaying audience with intent data.
The TV buy will be compared to the digital video buy, needing you to understand digital metrics, such as completion rate, click-through rate, and conversions.
The programmatic buying process opens up more opportunities, such as auction-based buys and rule-based buys. That's quite a lot to learn. So many platforms have made the buy easy by using known metrics, letting users choose age, gender, a predefined CPM, the channels and dayparts they want to run.
It essentially mirrors what they are used to -- but falling short on the advanced programmatic options.
2. No upside
If you are doing the same TV buy, but just through a different buying platform, what's the upside?
To create real upside for your client, you need to dig deeper into the advanced capabilities, which you need to understand. Your clients' expectations have been the same for the last 30 years, so keep on doing the same thing, right? If trying something new doesn't work, the client won't be happy.
If trying something new yields more or less the same results, you don't have time for it. And if it does work, you still need to convince the client of its benefits.
3. Client Reporting
If your programmatic TV campaign is successful, you need to be able to effectively report this information to your clients. Reporting unknown metrics to them means you’ll need to explain.
Again, many programmatic platforms have anticipated this and incorporate known metrics, such as the GRP, into their reporting, boiling the campaign success down to a more efficient cost per point buy. Although this can easily be explained to the client, it falls short on all the capabilities programmatic TV really has.
Here's an example: Try explaining to your client that while the GRP on the programmatic campaign compared to the traditional TV campaign is higher, you reached your target audience much better. The incorporated intent data reduced the real target audience to 20% of your initial demographic target audience.
As brand awareness cannot be measured instantly, the client only has your word that the higher cost per point is justified.
To put it bluntly: As a traditional TV buyer, you need to relearn everything you know, with limited upside from your perspective, and then convince the client of something you are not convinced of yourself.
While there will be traditional TV buyers moving to programmatic, I personally believe this is the wrong approach for the programmatic TV industry.
Instead of trying to build a bridge, we should focus on the new TV buyers out there, either emerging from 'digital marketing first' startups who move into TV advertising and expect the same metrics as online or, those coming out of the DRTV world, who embrace the new technology as the next step in direct response advertising.To use a metaphor: There are still people selling magazine ads, then there are people selling online ads and then there are people selling online ads programmatically. So let's focus on the online video buyers, the programmatic display buyers and the DRTV buyers instead.