Video Ad Buying Should Be Customer-First, Not Channel-First

  • by , Featured Contributor, December 9, 2021
The purpose of advertising is to create customers, either immediately or in the future. And how, where and when advertising is bought matters a lot to whether or not it will be effective at doing its job.

Both when media professionals follow processes or software-buying platforms are programmed, the focus and order in how they plan, buy and optimize ad campaigns is what makes them special and better at it -- or not.

Thus, every day in the trades, we hear media firms and software platforms differentiating themselves by what they or their systems buy, optimize or solve for first. What they do “first” becomes their calling card. It might be “digital-first,” “mobile-first” or “content-first” -- or, increasingly in the world of premium video advertising, “linear-first” or “CTV-first.”

I understand the desire to take this strategy, but isn't the first rule of media execution to be “customer-first”?



There was a time when each media channel was so siloed, specialized, and individually impenetrable that optimizing media, channel by channel, in a one-after-the-other manner, was the bread and butter of being a media professional.

That’s no longer the case. Now, the significant majority of ad-supported video consumption is either entirely digital, and thus fully addressable, or is materially digital and can be targeted in highly granular ways -- as national linear TV is today, finally -- and thus is proto-addressable, to borrow a phrase from Forrester Research.

In this world, no advertisers with any kind of breadth and scale in their consumer offering, should be channel-first when they can build video campaigns across TV, streaming and embedded digital video. There’s no longer a need to only buy linear, or only streaming, or only digital video, and not buy across all in an integrated, automated and optimized fashion.

Now, modern marketers can focus on the critical features that they need from premium video ads first and foremost: reach, brand impact and sales response. And they can get those with certainty, efficiency and speed (CES).

Getting this “CES” from cross-channel video campaigns is becoming the new table stakes in video ad campaigns, as digital-born marketers and media professionals ascend in our industry and increasingly drive budgets in an omnichannel way, focused first on reaching and impacting target customers -- and only secondarily on each channel.

What do you think? Are we finally ready to truly embrace customer-centric media execution?

5 comments about "Video Ad Buying Should Be Customer-First, Not Channel-First".
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  1. Benny Radjasa from Armonix Digital, Inc., December 10, 2021 at 1:45 p.m.

    Preach!  But these are fighting words for some.

  2. Phil Rist from Prosper Insights & Analytics, December 10, 2021 at 1:49 p.m.

    Well said.  Yes we and should truly embrace customer-centric media execution. See:

  3. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, December 10, 2021 at 3:57 p.m.

    Benny, for sure. This is very emotional for many.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 13, 2021 at 2:44 p.m.

    Dave, the real question is when will major TV advertisers--400-500 companies who account for 90%+ of national TV ad spend----going to drop their belief that they must buy into year-long upfront audience tonnage bundles and allow their brands freedom of action---even if it means higher CPMs? So it's not so much a matter of "we"---you and I as well as many others being ready--- it's whether those who control most of the ad spend are ready---or even aware that they are missing the boat on this issue? I don't think that they are giving the matter much thought---I'm sorry to say---and it still seems as if many of them remain convinced that "creative" is the whole ball game while "media buying" is of secondary importance---hence CPM rules. Sad.

  5. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, December 13, 2021 at 4:17 p.m.

    Great question Ed. For now, the tactic of TV buying in the upfront is the tail wagging the dog for hundreds of advertisers. Once/if they adopt true target customer centric buying they will find buying closer in time at higher rates but more effective rates across all video will be a better strategy.

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