Ampersand Automates Planning of Large-Scale Addressable Campaigns

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Advanced-advertising company Ampersand said it has created a system that automates the planning of addressable TV ad campaigns, cutting the time to market from days to hours.

In order to build national scale via pay TV, addressable campaigns need to place ads that run via multiple distributors with different technologies and protocols. Ampersand, owned by Charter Communications, Comcast and Cox Communications, has been working to standardize addressable technology across distributors but coordinating campaigns remained a painstaking process, Ari Turner senior VP, sales operations at Ampersand, told Broadcasting+Cable.

“The new addressable functionality we have now in the And platform has now automated a lot of that back-and-forth process between us and our partners MVPDs, and it’s creating proposals for the agencies that come in a timely fashion,“ Turner said. ”It’s concise, it’s efficient and it provides the agencies with the ability to buy at scale.”

Also: Ampersand Amps Up Local TV Ad-Targeting Capabilities

Turner said the automation can lower the turnaround time for campaigns from days to hours. It could take longer if the agency is looking to create a complicated audience or bringing its own data, “but generally speaking, that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The automated system is just part of Ampersand’s plan for 2023. “The next phase is automated ordering and automated reporting,” Turner said. “That’s the next step for us.”

Also: Ampersand Offers Buyers a Total TV Measurement Solution

The new system means agency buyers need only specify which audience they want to reach and their budget for a national campaign on Ampersand’s “And” platform, and the technology automatically locates the viewers the advertiser is seeking and finds inventory across the 65 million homes serviced by Altice, Charter, Comcast, Cox and Verizon, which represent about 70% of the addressable homes in the U.S.

It requires very little training, he added, making it almost at the Addressable for Dummies level.

Media buyer Horizon Media has been using the new system. 

“It works exactly as advertised,” Horizon executive VP and chief data officer Laura McElhinney said. “Horizon is growing our addressability practice. This allows us to do that at scale now, which is great.”

Horizon has also integrated Blu, its connected marketing platform, with Ampersand’s And platform, enabling Horizon to create custom audiences for clients using its own data. The integration also enables Horizon to build scale for campaigns even when its initial target definition creates an audience that is too small.

“Because we have this connection, we can activate very quickly,” McElhinney said.  “We’re not waiting a week to understand the size of the audience. We know the size already within our planning platforms. That also allows us faster optimization.”

Using Ampersand’s automation, mounting addressable campaigns are less expensive because there is less money wasted and the campaign outcomes have been better. “I think this is a huge plus for us,” she said.

Ampersand expects to see increases in the number of addressable campaigns it does, Turner said. It has already seen growth in tie revenue per campaign. “We’re getting bigger campaigns, which is great,” he said. “I think we’re getting out of the test phase of addressable. We want to see more growth and more dollars.”

Ampersand said its addressable business is growing despite a declining number of cable households and a slowing ad market.

“I think what’s happening across the marketplace in general is pushing more people towards addressable,” Turner said. “I think it’s important for people to utilize addressable to find their audiences in a more efficient manner.”

Ampersand is also looking for ways to reach additional addressable homes, either via satellite or streaming.

“We do have access to over-the-top inventory and digital inventory within our addressable offering,” Turner said. “We’re always open for conversations when it comes to the satellites, both Dish and DirecTV. We think addressable as a business is something that we need to move more and more advertising dollars to. And so we want all of us to succeed in this together and give the buyers and agencies what they need. For right now, we see the dollars rising across the board for all addressable, and that’s good for business for everybody.” ▪️

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.