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Advertising and Data Transparency: How TV Is Evolving to Meet the Challenge

April 25th, 2019   ||    by Susan Kuchinskas

The issue of advertising and data transparency is certainly not new, but it’s more critical than ever. With automated TV buying at the forefront of ad placement, brands and agencies need to figure out how to hone their messaging and provide second-to-none experiences for consumers. Data transparency can make the TV ad experience better.

Digital Advertising and Transparency

When it comes to digital advertising, sell-side platforms have come under fire for the way advertising and data transparency don’t always come together. In fact, according to MarTech Series, 45 percent of marketers have taken automated buying in-house for better control and management of data, targeting, performance, and overall ad spend.

Another issue in digital advertising is that not all platforms give advertisers and agencies enough visibility into audience data and where it comes from.

The biggest initiative regarding advertising and data transparency came last October with the release of the Data Transparency Label, a project of the ANA’s Data Marketing & Analytics division, the IAB Tech Lab, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, and the Advertising Research Foundation. The label for audience segment data sets “discloses source, collection, segmentation criteria, recency and cleansing specifics.” There will be an associated compliance program and a centralized database for label information.

TV Advertising and Transparency

Television advertising is on the opposite pole from digital when it comes to transparency and consumer privacy. In fact, Forbes called TV the clear winner in the transparency wars.

For one thing, data collected by smart TVs is limited to what shows were watched and a TV’s IP address. In addition, the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) guidelines are very clear about how manufacturers must get consent before collecting this data.

For another, because targeted advertising on television is so new, regulators are watching the industry like hawks, with two senators last year asking the FTC to investigate smart TV manufacturers.

Multichannel News reported from last fall’s TV Data Summit that, while the problem of advertising and data transparency is a new one for the industry, at least we’re beginning to build technologies and forge partnerships with it top of mind.

Automated TV Buying

When it comes to buying platforms for TV advertising, it’s important to remember that they are inherently different from automated platforms for digital.

First, they automate the old-fashioned manual processes used by media buyers since the days when a fax machine was high-tech. For example, the station makes its full inventory available for purchase, then normalizes the traffic, optimizes pricing for that inventory, and facilitates the purchase.

Second, they are private marketplaces. Digital ad traffic may bounce through several different exchanges, and the buyer often doesn’t know where an ad ends up. Automated TV buying is a transaction between trusted parties.

Finally, the use of data is transparent. Advertisers can use their own data, the TV station’s data, and third-party data to segment audiences. Buyers provide their specifications and immediately identify the best inventory.

Privacy and Transparency Are the Future

As technology begins to streamline the buying and selling of television inventory, we’re learning from the mistakes of the digital advertising industry. The slow but steady evolution of automated TV is letting us create a transparent and sustainable process that will meet the demands of consumers and regulators in a world increasingly—and rightly—concerned about privacy.

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