Following the road map to programmatic TV’s future


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The way we consume television has been fundamentally transformed. Gone are the days when we’d rush through dinner to catch the latest episode of our favorite primetime TV show — ours is an era of watching on-demand, whether in the kitchen or on the subway. But while consumers quickly change their television habits, advertisers have been slow to change theirs.

Programmatic television (PTV) — defined as TV inventory purchased through advanced audience data and software automation — has promised brands new ways of delivering hyper-targeted ads with advanced audience data and of reaching out to new audiences, such as hard-to-reach cord-cutters. It has also promised broadcasters the chance to increase the value of their undersold inventory.

Despite these promising offers, the journey to PTV has been long and slow. But in 2017—after a year of successful experimentation with the capabilities of PTV—broadcasters and tech suppliers are picking up the pace. And brands must be ready for the ride.

Pack Your Bags — With Data

Last year, mobile became the most popular platform for video consumption around the world. By 2019, half of all U.S. households will have a smart TV. As viewers watch their favorite shows across devices and channels, they’re giving brands more detailed information about their interests and habits than ever before, from what kind of shows they like to watch to where they view them most.

That’s why on the road to PTV, brands won’t be traveling light: They’ll be accompanied by a wealth of valuable consumer insights. As more data sources become available, they can be collected, anonymized and used in the planning and targeting of linear TV ads. Instead of relying solely on basic demographic information like age and gender, brands will be able to layer that data with more specific insights. An adventure brand advertising a new line of men’s hiking jackets, for instance, can move beyond simply targeting men 25-54; they can reach out to a subset of those men who have watched videos on adventure destinations or browsed trekking equipment on their mobile devices.

With advertisers able to identify and target their ideal audiences, they’ll benefit from better campaign performance and increased ROI.

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