Media Blogged

Tear down the wall between agency TV and digital teams

It is no mystery that consumers are watching video everywhere. Our eyeballs are constantly flitting between screens, watching Britain's Got Talent one minute and then laughing at a YouTube video sent by a friend the next.

To viewers, video is video regardless if they are watching on a tablet or TV. For instance, 24% of millennial video consumption takes place on tablets.

All of this makes marketers' jobs much harder. For the most part, TV and digital planning teams at agencies are separate and measure success very differently. While TV executives tend to think in terms of cost per 'Gross Rating Points' (GRP) and day-parting strategies when reaching a target audience, digital buyers are more accustomed to sorting through an alphabet of terms that are native to online - data segments, RTB, social network sharing rates, cost per completed view, etc.

Ultimately, both teams want the same thing: to reach a target audience accountably in order to drive awareness, loyalty and, ultimately, get people to buy things. We know from working with so many TV and online buying teams that digital video need not detract from or threaten TV spend; video is a complementary medium to TV. The central question is cost per unique target viewer.

That is why GRPs are such an important metric for digital video advertising. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) give online video the same accountability as TV by verifying a target audience was reached from a trusted third party. But to date, there has been a catch: buying digital video on a cost per point basis is a process of trial and error, preventing meaningful budget moves. Once a buy is made, marketers manually optimise to GRP reporting, which results in a lot of waste compared to TV given low accuracy in targeting different demographics.

For our part, we endeavoured to change this calculus by creating the first tool modeled on Nielsen's data that helps marketers transition from reporting on GRPs to accurately buying them. Called BrandPoint, the tool allows buyers to accurately gauge media costs in real time for different demographics and regions, which is a major step forward for buyers activating within a scatter marketplace.

The key here is accountability. Agencies want buys backed by a cost per point guarantee, where the media partner (not the agency) takes on the risk and Nielsen independently verifies the results. In the end, we -- along with everyone else in the industry - are judged by an independent standard and like it that way. In that world, the best technology wins.

Many avant-garde agencies are already making the transition to merging their TV and digital teams in some form. According to research from Digiday, almost half (48%) of marketers are currently planning TV and digital together. There is also a broad trend at agencies like Starcom and Universal McCann, where former heads of digital media are now leading all media strategy, including TV, where they will surely be a voice for a different approach.

The results benefit TV and digital executives alike. To TV executives, this is a necessity given that consumers are getting harder to reach on traditional television. To digital buyers, TV brings clout and tremendous buying power.

As agencies adapt, they will start to look at video holistically - just like their consumers do.

Nick Reid is managing director of video ad buying platform TubeMogul

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