What Marketers Want, TV’s Now Got

Brian Wallach Senior VP, Advanced TV Media Sales, FreeWheel

Recently, I attended two marketer-centric events which allowed me to speak directly with CMOs and other marketing executives across a wide range of industries.  Since FreeWheel is focused on helping marketers grow their businesses with premium video content, much of our discussions focused around TV and video advertising—what’s working, what’s not, and what marketers would like to see on the horizon.

I was encouraged that their thinking was very much aligned with the solutions that FreeWheel is bringing to the market. One of these offerings is DRIVE—a suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to help marketers reach consumers across emerging forms of TV, including OTT, using advanced data and measurement capabilities.

Based on my discussions, DRIVE answers the needs of marketers in a few distinct, yet related areas.

One overarching call among marketers was for transparency.  They are eager to adopt new ad opportunities, but they are cautious.  Marketers understand that context and content—and above all brand-safety—matter, and want to understand exactly where their media is running and the results it’s delivering.   Perhaps because we work with many of the most premium publishers in the marketplace—FreeWheel echoes this belief.  I would encourage all buyers to ask for examples of reporting before making a commitment, then compare it to the post-campaign data to ensure the level of detail is consistent.

Affordable Scale
Another theme that we heard when discussing TV advertising was the ongoing problem of fragmentation. No matter how sophisticated marketing solutions become, achieving adequate scale is still table stakes.  While traditional TV remains a great driver of scale, marketers are faced with a point of diminishing return after which each incremental reach point begins to cost more and more.  As viewing continues to fragment, we’re seeing this point move closer to the starting gate.  Fortunately, the “new TV” opportunity, which encompasses OTT and digital video viewing, can help fill this gap and drive down the cost of incremental reach by targeting viewers not exposed to an advertiser’s national TV campaign.

Right-sized Targeting
Hand-in-hand with marketers’ challenges surrounding scale were their challenges defining targeting parameters. With a proliferating array of consumer touchpoints, the temptation to use data for pinpoint targeting is understandable.  Many marketers are discovering the hard way, however, that hyper-targeting can go too far.  The result is sagging sales.  To grow their businesses, marketers are looking for ways to use data that will balance precision with reach.  In addition to in-market buyers, marketers need to efficiently get their message out to new consumers who may be future buyers of their products or services.  TV’s new data-driven capabilities can fill the gap left by a bottom-funnel, digital-only approach to targeting.

Connected-Funnel Ad Strategies

To elaborate on the point above, we’re all in agreement that data is a tremendous tool for targeting and measurement.  This is what drove so many marketers to digital media in the first place.  Marketers want to know if their ad dollars are working.  Fortunately, measurement metrics once only possible in the digital world are now available on OTT video, and increasingly on linear TV, advertising. By tying media exposure data to behavioral or purchase data, marketers can use OTT advertising to measure full-funnel attribution.  TV fills the funnel, then connects it.  Attribution is one of the most valuable aspects of our DRIVE offering, and one generating the most interest from marketers.

It’s always good to have your company’s offerings reality-checked and validated by the clients for whom they were designed.  We launched FreeWheel’s DRIVE last month as one of the industry’s most comprehensive, transparent, scalable solutions available to help marketers reach their customers in a new TV landscape.  After talking with so many really smart marketers over the past few weeks, I’m more confident than ever that we’re headed in the right direction.