On we go…

How do programmatic and TV strategies integrate?

Joel Livesey, director of partnerships for EMEA, The Trade Desk:

Programmatic and TV often overlap more than they integrate. As connected TV gains traction here in the UK, publishers are beginning to make their inventory available programmatically – meaning that programmatic and TV strategies are becoming more and more integrated.

It’s also becoming more regular for separate TV and programmatic campaigns to intersect. For example, it’s common knowledge that second screening is ubiquitous – viewers are frequently on their phones while watching TV – so brands are increasingly targeting them during ad breaks. Companies like wywy and TVTY provide [TV sync] services for flicking on a display campaign as soon as the TV adverts run and the two strategies overlap.


Jack Glanville, programmatic analyst at Journey Further:

TV sync is still in the development stages and there are several assumptions involved in the process. Assuming that the demographic data behind both the TV and programmatic targeting is correct, you are also relying on the right person in the household to be watching and for them to be second-screening on a website with an available placement. Wow.

Targeting ‘on demand’ services is an option, but the serving costs are often high. Another feasible alternative is targeting people interested in certain programmes via social, focusing on in-feed placements across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

However, there are big changes ahead with the roll out of programmatic TV over the next few years. A big question remains over whether – or more likely, when – subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime will open up their platforms to programmatic advertising solutions.

Daniel Gilbert, CEO, BrainLabs:

All TV advertising will eventually be bought programmatically, so at some point there will be complete integration. At the moment, programmatic linear TV isn’t really a thing, so our focus has been on VOD advertising, especially in terms of measuring performance and using insights to optimise ad content and targeting.

One unique feature of VOD advertising, for example, is Ad Select. Individuals are presented with two or three options in terms of the ad they want to see, rather than just forcing them to watch the default ad.

With one client, we found that using Ad Select increased conversion rates by as much as 1,200% for one ad and 680% on another. On average, people were 10 times more likely to convert with ad select rather than a single video.

Strategies like Ad Select or Ad Bloom (which creates a sort of mini-site of the brand which users can select different sections of) enable choice, and therefore provide a great source of audience insight. Pretty soon you can learn what aspects of your brand the audience really likes, or what types of advert certain segments within the audience prefer.

This is only the beginning – as programmatic TV becomes more mature, we will start to be able to apply the same scientific approach to TV as we currently use in PPC. A number of major broadcasters are developing technology to enable programmatic live TV; when that happens, we can expect a number of innovative personalisation strategies to emerge. Should be exciting.

Kristina Kalpokaite, head of paid media, Summit:

Programmatic can act as an extremely effective way of distributing TV ads to a broader audience through paid social, VOD (Video on Demand), in-banner video and DOOH (digital out of home).

Gone are the days when you filmed one ad and launched it on TV. As creative TV production remains a big cost on an advertiser’s budget, cutting TV ads to suit paid social and online video channels – video, stills and GIFs to name a few formats – becomes a standard practice, widely recommended by numerous platforms.

Applying TV synchronisation on top ensures that the customer gets a consistent experience no matter what device. This integration provides clear engagement and profitability measurement for TV assets that would have otherwise allowed minimal insight into performance.

Adapting TV assets for a programmatic environment also helps you target each user with a personalised message – something a mass-market TV ad would not be able to deliver. Furthermore, we find adding dynamic product overlays to an adapted TV ad transforms a branding asset into creative that can be used to drive direct response.

How does programmatic ad creative fit with other channels, if at all?

Daniel Gilbert:

We’ve been developing a multi-channel retargeting strategy involving PPC (AdWords), display (GDN) and video (YouTube).

The ad creatives we show in the GDN are informed by the data we collect from search and video. For example, we might modify the creative according to the perceived level of intent, derived from data collected in AdWords. Someone with high intent might get shown a creative that relates more to sales, for example.

The same applies to video. If, for example, someone likes a video related to a particular product, we can use this data to modify the creative they’re shown via display. Let’s say the brand sells sports goods, and a customer watches a video about football boots. Naturally we’ll show them an image of football boots in display, if we have a suitable creative.

Geisla De Souza, head of display, EMEA, Jellyfish:

I think this is a case of thinking differently about programmatic and what it actually is. When planning digital campaigns, we’re now looking at the bigger picture: search, social, display. Essentially, they are all bought and sold programmatically.

There is a perception that we are limited in terms of channels when using what is traditionally known as programmatic. Programmatic now facilitates delivery of many different and innovative formats across multiple channels that are beyond the standard display banner. If planned and executed well, different creative types and messages can be delivered at the differing touch points of a user’s journey using programmatic.

Programmatic will continue to evolve and create efficiencies in the buying process as we see more mediums such as OOH & broadcast inventory being bought and sold programmatically.


Jim Hawker, owner, Threepipe:

Ad creative should be in tune with what is going on other channel to re-enforce the brand message already created but it should not be limited by it. If you are too conservative here you can lose one of the most important leavers to test and get gains based on. It should fit yes but it should also lead the other channels and leaders don’t always follow the crowd.

Alessandra Di Lorenzo, chief commercial officer, Media and Partnerships, lastminute.com group:

Dynamically optimised creative is a prerogative for a hyper-targeted channel like programmatic, and digital more generally. Above-the-line marketing can do wonders on the emotional and creative side, using specific high impact channels for very visual and emotionally charged campaigns.

Programmatically, the same campaign can be developed to include a product message and be tailored to a specific audience. The result? One campaign message with multiple creative deployments that use channel-specific capabilities as a lever.

Joel Livesey: 

Programmatic allows brands to tell a story better than ever before, and make sure the creative is perfectly suited to the time and place of the ad and the person it is served to. Brands can now pick and choose who, how, why, and when they’re targeting; and ensure that the third, fourth, fifth impressions are all creatively different, generating a real journey for the consumer. On top of that, it has meant brands can constantly track and measure the impact their activity is having, and how to get more out of their ad spend.

Which programmatic campaigns have you enjoyed recently?

Jack Glanville:

I think what Channel 4 is doing with their 4onDemand product is really clever. I was targeted with a personalised audio ad recently and it immediately grabbed my attention. A strange voice was shouting out my name while I was waiting for my content to load. Slightly creepy perhaps, but it certainly did the trick in getting me to click-through and remember the brand. Good job, Skyr Yoghurts.

Alessandra Di Lorenzo:

The Tale of Thomas Burberry – that was an amazing piece of above-the-line marketing and new generation content marketing which really hit the mark!

Joel Livesey:

An honourable mention for Mcdonalds, who recently ran campaigns focused on those who are up at night.  If you have young kids (I have two), or an active social life (I don’t – unless hanging out with my kids counts) you probably saw this activity.

The campaigns were time-targeted to night-time, and geo-targeted to those within reach of a 24-hour McDonalds restaurant.  I have to say I was tempted to pack my baby daughter into the car, head to my local drive-thru and pick up a well needed McFlurry to keep me going through the late night teething, feeding and crying!

Kristina Kalpokaite:

We have recently launched a fully integrated campaign for GAME, aligning video, programmatic, paid social, digital radio and DOOH – it’s great to be able to provide a consistent brand message across the full channel mix…

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