Advanced Advertising: Experts See Opportunity for Targeting, AVOD Buys

When TV advertising finds a new normal after the pandemic, targeted ads are more likely to be a bigger part of the ad mix, experts said during Advanced Advertising panel sessions Monday at a Future-produced virtual event.

Experts also predicted some “share shifting” of ad dollars away from broadcast TV toward ad-supported streaming services, social apps (such as TikTok) and other emerging video categories. And they said the pullback by some advertisers, including ones in travel-related businesses, has led to increased opportunities to advertise on platforms that are seeing a surge in viewing, including connected TV and over-the-top outlets, at reduced rates. That is an opportunity for image type advertising including by TV brands looking to raise awareness among consumers.

Monday was the first day of the four-day Advanced Advertising Virtual Summit, with two panels moderated by Jon Lafayette, senior content producer for B+C.

The first panel was about audience measurement across screens, or video devices. Asked how they were doing during this disruptive period, the panelists said they were healthy and keeping busy while working from home. Aleck Schleider, senior VP of client and data strategy at advertising technology firm Amobee, also said he had found colleagues and customers were “more accessible, interestingly enough.”

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Mike Piner, senior VP of video and data driven investments at agency Mediahub, said a “silver lining” in current video consumption is that “media that we considered emerging media is now becoming more mainstream.” Schleider had pointed to internet-connected TV viewing as being up, and Piner added to that increased viewing on ad-supported video on demand networks. He also said video viewing on social apps, including Houseparty and TikTok, will be more important ad vehicles in future.

Ethan Heftman, senior VP of precision and performance advertising sales at A+E Networks, said advertisers were falling into three categories: those whose messages are having to be put on hold while their business is on pause; those whose business is open but hurt, such as quick service restaurants now open for takeout (they are moving ads to later in the year); and those that might be unharmed or even seeing a surge. “What we have tried to do with them is encourage them to support the advertising market, to support the programmers like we are, trying to put content on for viewers to watch. Try to put PSAs out there, support first responders and support industries that are hurting. We are trying to be partners with them.”

Heftman said the first few weeks of the crisis was about doing triage with advertisers, figuring out what the right message is and when it should run. The last couple of weeks, though, has seen “an increased level of conversation about advanced targeting, about the value of a television impression for someone’s business right now.” He said that trend should continue in the future.

The second panel was a progress report on advanced advertising topics including data-driven linear, audience buying and addressable ads.

Zeev Neumeier, senior VP of product at smart TV data firm Inscape, said “fear and trepidation” is sometimes needed to motivate change in business in established industries like advertising. “Well, there’s fear and trepidation now.” Buying impressions based on viewers aged 18-49 has been a bad currency for years, he said, but buying should move more to sales outcomes, he said, especially if businesses have less money to spend on ads. Inscape and parent TV maker Vizio got going in the last big recession, in 2008-09, he noted.

Kurt Rao, the senior VP and chief technology officer at Tegna, the broadcast TV group and owner of the Premion OTT advertising platform, said “audiences are craving for content” so viewing is up across all Tegna platforms. The stations also are seeing younger viewers, and are eager to retain them and to “monetize” the gains, which is hard to do now because advertisers have had to pull back. It’s an election year, which helps as political advertising “continues to drive up across all of our platforms, whether it’s linear or OTT,” he said.

Adam Helfgott, CEO at programmatic provider Madhive, said in this environment clients have been receptive to “going full force” now with data-driven approaches, “much higher than we’ve ever seen.”

Rao said 30% of advertisers are looking for targeted advertising now. “Given uncertain times, they are trying to reach the best audience they can,” he said.

The Advanced Advertising Virtual Summit continues Tuesday-Thursday. 

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.