Commentary

Buy Programmatic, Because You Can Make More

Mark Twain famously said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore,” to illustrate the scarcity of the real estate marketplace. To some extent, that might be a legitimate way of thinking about audience-based TV targeting. At least that was what I thought during the “addressable” panel wrapping up Day Three of MediaPost’s TV Insider Summit on Amelia Island this morning.

Asked by moderator Steve Smith “how this stuff is being bought,” panelist Samantha Stecker, director of media strategy & innovation, Ocean Media, struck a housing metaphor.

“You’re not buying a network. You’re not buying a daypart. You’re buying a house,” she said.

Okay -- I know she was using that as shorthand for household, but I thought the connection to real estate is apt, because they are both about scarcity and value. And the real value of targeting TV isn’t in targeting networks, programs or even dayparts, but in reaching the audiences that live in the households that Nielsen ratings are proxies for.

“You’re buying households that are being defined by an audience,” she said, explaining how such indexing is being applied in the marketplace today -- using Nielsen ratings indexed by more refined audience data.

She acknowledged that definitions of programmatic TV buys can be “vague” and are dependent on the person who holds the microphone onstage at the time it is being discussed. Since she was holding the mic, she acknowledged this is her particular definition.

It’s “important to have a really good understanding of what your target is,” she continued, adding that the key to utilizing programmatic TV today is to “A/B test” the campaigns to see how they actually perform.

That is, “the way you define your target to make sure it actually delivers your business results,” she suggested.

“It’s about the person, not the program, which is what you’re buying,” added fellow panelist Jennifer Pelino, VP-Brand Media, Omni Channel Media, 8451.

Both agreed that the opportunity at this early stage of programmatic TV is to gain some knowledge and understanding in anticipation of a time when it is a broader industry “currency.”

“Eventually, it is potentially going to be the new currency,” Stecker said, adding, “this is a chance to test it.”
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