By Lou Mastria
Big Idea: Video ads are a vital format for advertisers to reach a consumer on multiple devices, and improved customization will increase effectiveness
Welcome to our first in a series of blog posts dedicated to our recent DAA Summit 2016, “Connecting Self-Regulation, Relevant Ads & Respect for the Consumer” held on May 12-13, 2016, in Silicon Beach (Los Angeles, CA). Throughout the summer, we will be providing content coverage from the Summit.
Video is now being distributed across a dizzying variety of platforms, creating an important new opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers of short- and long-form content. The emerging capabilities of digital advertising platforms to provide more customized video ads will increase ad effectiveness, and will support an expansion in available video content for the multi-device (and increasingly mobile-centric) consumer.
With this in mind, a distinguished panel of senior executives took the stage at the Digital Advertising Alliance Summit 2016 in Los Angeles to explore this dynamic ad-supported video ecosystem.
PHOTO: Acxiom’s Rick Erwin discusses video ad growth during Digital Advertising Alliance Summit on May 13, 2016, in Marina del Rey, CA. The panel comprised Rick Erwin, President & General Manager, Audience Solutions, Acxiom (center); Brian Fuhrer, Senior Vice President, National & Cross-Platform Product Leader, Nielsen (not pictured), Chris Pirrone, General Manager, USA Today Sports Media Group (left), with Bruce Biegel, Senior Managing Director, Winterberry Group (right) serving as moderator.
Does More Data Mean Better Advertising?
“I’d like to talk about why we’re here,” said moderator Bruce Biegel, senior managing director, Winterberry Group. “We’re here to talk about the consumer. We’re here about data. We’re here about protection and privacy. Is [data] going to make video advertising more valuable, and does this mean that we’re going to have better advertising?”
Panelists agreed that video-based audience data will offer expanded potential for understanding and engaging with the digital consumer, even if the tools for analytics, measurement, and attribution are yet to be fully developed.
PHOTO: DAA Summit 2016 Video Ecosystem Panelist: Brian Fuhrer, Senior Vice President, National & Cross-Platform Product Leader, Nielsen
“The key thing that most [agency-client] discussions seem to presume that there’s this giant switch that takes us from linear to addressable,” said Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president, national and cross-platform product leader, Nielsen. “If you look at the upfronts… every single one you go to, they’re talking about some component of targeted and addressable advertising. And they’re all trying to figure out their own secret sauce. But they’re also talking about it in context [with] the larger picture.”
Fuhrer then spoke of Nielsen connecting digital marketing data back to its audience research. “A lot of what we’re doing with all the data sets in the digital space, is we’re bringing it back and calibrating it against our panels. Our panel is not the answer to everything, but answers it gives us are really high quality. So the ability to calibrate and put these pieces together is what really helps our clients gain confidence and move forward.”
“We are at the top of the first inning of this in video, but we’re in the bottom of the ninth in many other forms of media,” remarked Rick Erwin, President and General Manager, Audience Solutions, Acxiom. “So it’s not a new world, in my opinion, it’s just that this world is beginning to embrace something that is empirically proven to be a superior way to advertise, develop offers and creative, and measure campaign results.”
The Source of Video Advertising Dollars
“There’s been a lot of discussion about where the money in video advertising is coming from,” Biegel said. “Some have said that it’s going to move from TV to digital.” On the other hand, he noted that TV-based advertising had increased four-percent in the last quarter. “So which is it?” he asked.
“I think the money is following the audience,” said Chris Pirrone, general manager, USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “A lot of brands opted out of digital for a while because the ad formats weren’t that compelling…As we get into more rich media formats, and as there is more video, these brands are now moving back into digital and finding creative ways to talk to a consumer that’s impactful.” Rick Erwin noted that improved technology for video ad delivery can enable advertisers to better address audiences on different devices.
The Future of Video and Responsible Use of Data
Pirrone emphasized that brands in the video space will need to ensure not only that they follow industry best practices, but also that their partners do too. “Half of [our website inventory] is now filled by advertisers that are coming from other sources, whether it be SSPs, or ad networks, etc. They are interested in leveraging data that they have to reach these consumers,” he said. “So we’re always trying to make sure that we’re following the rules and that our partners are following the rules…For a brand like USA TODAY, a trusted brand, you want to make sure that your partners are [following best practices].”
“From our perspective, privacy isn’t just something we’d like to have, it’s our business,” Fuhrer said. “So making sure that we’re only collecting what we’re clear about collecting and giving people the option to opt out in things that we’re measuring on the digital side is really critical.”
When it comes to figuring out how far the industry has come on the video advertising journey, Biegel estimated that we are “in the second inning” when it comes to their ability to use data to serve more customized ads. “We are still really early,” he said. “But the rate of change, which we’ve seen across channels, and in the digital world of adoption, is starting to accelerate. If it took 30 years for people to get really proficient with direct mail, and it took 20 years for email, and ten years for display, we think that video will be more of a three- to four-year progression. So when we get to the end of this decade, we will hopefully be closer to the eighth or ninth inning.”
The DAA Program provides a framework for consumer transparency and choice for data used to enhance the relevance of video ads. The DAA’s recent guidance on serving the DAA Icon in video ad formats provides our participating companies with a road map for extending transparency and control to short- and long-format video ads (including in mobile formats). As relevant advertising drives the continued growth in video content, the DAA is working to promote the continued expansion of consumer choice in the video space.