Addressable Programmatic TV: Inventory Is Minimal, but Ad Opportunity Is Massive - eMarketer

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Addressable Programmatic TV: Inventory Is Minimal, but Ad Opportunity Is Massive

March 25, 2016


Pete LaFond
Vice President, Marketing
TruSignal

With more than 20 years in the industry at companies such as Yahoo, ValueClick and Wal-Mart, Pete LaFond brings a strong, unique background to programmatic advertising and audience targeting platform TruSignal. As the vice president of marketing at TruSignal, LaFond oversees the company’s product marketing, brand advertising and public relations efforts. LaFond spoke with eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher about programmatic advertising in the addressable TV space—a small-scale but emerging area that packs massive potential for bringing greater efficiency to TV advertising.

eMarketer: What are you seeing in the addressable programmatic TV space today?

Pete LaFond: It’s really interesting to see how we are able to bring one-to-one targeting to the set-top box or TV. It’s been a long time coming.

But I think having a little sense of reality helps put things in perspective. I believe it’s around 5% to 10% of TV inventory that is both addressable and actually available for programmatic. That’s how much the networks are actually giving over to folks like Comcast or they’re doing themselves that allow for programmatic.

I look at TV in much the same way as where display advertising was for big publishers back in the early 2000s—most of their money was tied up in guarantees and direct buys. The networks and broadcasters are going to have to go through that transition of taking some of that inventory and making it available for programmatic without messing up their entire P&L structure.

“Programmatic is really about efficiency: How do I be more efficient with my marketing dollars and spend them on the people that matter and less on the people that don’t matter?”

eMarketer: Any insight into how many households have addressable, programmatic capability?

LaFond: I’ve heard anywhere from 15 million up to 50 million. I guess it really depends on which network or cable provider you’re connecting with.

eMarketer: How are companies approaching programmatic TV?

LaFond: We’re talking to a number of advertisers. Most of the folks that seem to initially be very interested are direct-response-type folks. And the programmatic CPMs for TV are a little prohibitive for that. But what they are doing is connecting us with their brand teams so their brand teams can get smarter about making their branding more effective and efficient.

You’re starting to see case studies and testimonials about using programmatic TV to increase efficiency. Because programmatic is really about efficiency: How do I be more efficient with my marketing dollars and spend them on the people that matter and less on the people that don’t matter?

With the old traditional way of TV, it’s really difficult to move the efficiency knob because you’re guessing at audiences on particular shows. Programmatic provides an opportunity, and as more people try it and start to see success with it, I think there will be greater and greater demand.

“TV has definitely taken the premium approach to programmatic pricing, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.”

eMarketer: You mentioned high CPMs for programmatic TV. In digital, programmatic initially took hold as a way to monetize remnant inventory, which meant low CPMs. Do you get the sense that when it comes to TV—out of the gate—the networks and broadcasters are going for premium CPMs?

LaFond: Based on the CPMs that I’ve seen, I do get that sense. We were talking with a retailer that’s very direct-response-focused. And when they were looking at programmatic CPMs for TV, they were $50 to $100 CPMs. They can’t make their ROI [return on investment] or CPAs [cost per actions] work on that. So it’s not like digital where programmatic started with remnant CPMs and worked its way up. TV has definitely taken the premium approach to programmatic pricing, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I definitely think it will force a lot of analysis, which is good. With remnant display, analysis doesn’t matter as much when you’re looking at 20-cent CPMs. So it didn’t really force the discipline of figuring out if it was working. This should.

eMarketer: Do you think this will help the industry to push for greater cross-device measurement and attribution advancements?

LaFond: I think it will be another component of it. Cross-device measurement and attribution is the new mobile: We keep saying it’s coming, but it’s going to take a while. It’s really hard. You see a lot of big companies using outside consulting firms for their media mix models, and many of them are questionable.

But marketers are hungry to know things like, if my customer is going to have seven or 12 touches along their path to purchase, what’s the value? And if I removed one, would the behavior still be the same? That’s really hard to figure out. It’s a lot of testing and learning, because there’s no one-path-fits-all for consumers, or a one-path-fits-all for companies.

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