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TV Ad Tech’s Self-Service Opportunities—and Advantages

September 13th, 2017   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

Ever since Google’s game-changing release of the self-service AdWords platform, the advantages of this model have become apparent. Many of today’s dominant self-service offerings were developed by the media owners themselves. In fact, early entrants Google and Facebook now account for the majority of all digital advertising.

But advertising technology vendors now see a self-service offering as a competitive advantage, and this model is on its way to becoming ubiquitous among ad tech vendors, according to Digiday. It’s also apparent in the world of TV ad tech.

But while digital media buyers have typically outsourced programmatic buying, advertising technology providers have been acquiring programmatic platforms to offer their customers the self-service option. There are two advantages for media buyers, according to Digiday: self-service allows buyers to use the bidding tools of their choice and—more importantly—it allows them to manage their data in-house.

From the Ground Up

Now TV advertising is following this same trend. Television networks are partnering with (or acquiring) automated television-buying platforms, while local station groups rely on TV ad tech platforms to provide the benefits of data-driven media buying and automated workflows.

Digiday notes that traditional ad tech vendors may have a difficult time adding self-service capabilities for several reasons. First, their technologies are highly complex and rely on proprietary code that can’t easily integrate with a new offering. Second, large legacy players may not be nimble enough to change direction. Finally, they may struggle to develop a business model that supports the transparency of this approach.

This is where TV ad tech has an advantage. The television-buying industry is leapfrogging digital’s slow evolution to programmatic and moving from the world of spreadsheets and faxes directly to an automated, data-driven approach to TV ad buying. Moreover, programmatic TV platforms were designed from the ground up to accommodate the needs and workflows of media buyers.

It should be noted that the self-service trend will not replace or eliminate the buyer-seller relationship. As advertising guru Mitch Oscar, advanced TV strategist at U.S. International Media, told Videa, “Agencies have to be involved in the dialogue, and sales folks have to build and deliver.”

Relationships Still Matter

Because of the hybrid nature of today’s television programming—where people may access the same content via broadcast, streaming, or a website—buyer-seller relationships have become more important than ever. Because programmatic platforms are new to television buying, the sales side needs to help buyers understand their benefits, as well as the nuts and bolts of how they operate and how they fit into the overall workflow.

Salespeople may also need to educate buyers on the varieties of data that can improve their return on investment, as well as how data can illuminate the characteristics of the local market. Advertisers will get the best results when programmatic television advertising is approached holistically with other ad units, both broadcast and digital.

While digital programmatic platforms were often technology- or vendor-driven, modern TV ad tech platforms are conceived and built to support trusted industry relationships and provide a safe and efficient marketplace for buyers and sellers. Programmatic TV ad tech must be seen as an enhancing technology that empowers strategic, long-term business relationships rather than simply an automated alternative to the traditional media buying process.

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