OTT/CTV Targeting and Attribution

A Conversation with Frost Prioleau CEO

 

Transcript

 
David McBee:
Hello, and welcome to the Simpli.fi Webinar series. I’m David McBee, Director of Training. And this month I’m here with Simpli.fi’s CEO, Frost Prioleau, and we’re going to talk about OTT/CTV. Good morning, Frost.

Frost Prioleau:
Hey, good morning, David. Happy to be here.

David McBee:
Awesome. Well, Frost, listen, everyone is talking about OTT/CTV. Everyone I know is a cord cutter or a cord stacker, or the younger group are cord nevers. And you can’t read the news without 12 articles talking about the growth of streaming television, so I don’t think we need to convince people that there’s a trend here. Would you agree with that?

Frost Prioleau:
I agree. I think people know what’s going on. I actually cut the cord myself about a year ago. I looked around, our kids had left home and I said wow, we’ve got like five cable boxes in our house that we’re all paying for. That made no sense. So we’re amongst the group of not nevers or stackers. I think we must just be cutters at this point.

David McBee:
Well, let me ask you this, consumers seem to get it. People are definitely watching TV in a new way, but what about advertisers? So I found some research by SpotX that predicts that OTT/CTV ad spending will hit over $6 billion this year. Now that certainly implies that linear TV advertisers are making the transition to digital, but are they just following the eyeballs or do you think there are other advantages to making that switch?

Frost Prioleau:
Oh, you have different advertisers going for different reasons here. I mean I think the big thing, of course, that everyone knows happened just during the pandemic, the number of people watching and the hours they spent watching streaming TV just accelerated and multiplied. So yeah, you have some following the eyeballs from that perspective, but I think another interesting thing that happened is during the pandemic, just the awareness of advertisers spiked. So all of a sudden they were watching streaming. Their kids were watching stream, all their friends were talking about streaming.

Frost Prioleau:
And so I think that also drove just these advertisers saying hey, this is a media type that I need to be on. And so I think that happened also, from just the following the eyeballs is probably more the linear TV buyers who are thinking about following the eyeballs because they’re seeing declining reach in the linear TV they buy on, so they need to replace that reach and CTV is an obvious way to do that. But we also see a ton of buyers coming over with the digital buying background where they’re just saying hey, here’s a way I can get the full impact of TV, but with all the benefits I’ve had with digital over the years.

David McBee:
Perfect. So what would you say are some of those advantages that OTT/CTV has over linear that the advertisers are now embracing?

Frost Prioleau:
Well, as I said you get the full impact of non-skippable ads on a full length episode, and often CTV can be on any size screen, but often our advertisers choose hey, they want to be on the big screen that’s presumably on the wall of the living room. And you get that. But in addition, is they’re seeing the ability to target audiences much more precisely that can be done with linear TV. Really, it’s all the ability to target audiences that they’re used to on digital that we’re bringing over to CTV.

David McBee:
So let’s assume someone watching this webinar isn’t a digital buyer. They have bought linear their whole lives. What are some of the ways that Simpli.fi can create this targeted audience?

Frost Prioleau:
Well, one of the ways we’ve seen just being a really great fit and especially for linear buyers, who’ve been interested, is the linear buyers tend to be accustomed to buying based on household demographics. And so, one of the real popular things that we’ve seen is linear buyers coming over and in our platform, they’re able to target households based on demographics, but instead of having the 10 buckets of demographics, age, gender, maybe a few others, they’re able to go in our platform or have our team select for each household from 600 demographics they can choose from. So not only all the age income, et cetera, but purchase history, whether they have cars coming off leases, or they have a pool in the backyard and they can do these full [inaudible 00:04:33] and join.

Frost Prioleau:
So I just want people with a household income of 150,000 and a car coming off lease in the next three months and where the households are within a 20 mile radius of my dealership. And so they’re able to target in on these audiences in a way that’s just much more precise than they’ve been able to do with linear TV. But in addition to that household, it’s really all the digital targeting that the digital advertisers has been used to. So targeting people based on their search history, if they stick with the auto analogy, whether they searched on red Corvette or something, or all the behavioral data based on visiting various sites. Based on physical visits, whether advertisers love targeting users who have visited a competitor’s auto dealer or a competitor’s fast food restaurant, or a competitor’s retailer.

Frost Prioleau:
One of the things we’ve seen that’s been super effective is sightly targeting. So for today, for instance, if you go to the Simpli.fi site, you very well may see a Simpli.fi TV ad, right? Starring none other than the voice of one David McBee on it. So that’s been super powerful on that side. And then, of course there’s all the third-party data like purchase history data that they can target with as well. So it’s just a whole both data that mimics, but just as better than the linear TV targeting, but also all the targeting that digital advertisers are used to as well.

David McBee:
Yeah. Frost, I have to tell you just a quick story. The other day I was watching Ink Masters on the Paramount Network and my wife and I were kind of falling asleep as we were watching the show. And all of a sudden, I heard my own voice come on the TV in our bedroom and we both kind of shot up like how did that happen? It was quite jarring, but I don’t think it has to be your own voice to have that kind of an impact. I think people are really excited when they see a TV commercial that is so targeted based on a website that they visited earlier that day. I think that’s very, very cool.

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah. I think of it as kind of the democratization of TV advertising. Think about Simpli.fi, it would make no sense for Simpli.fi to advertise on TV typically because I’d have to buy broad swaths of people watching Shark Week or something like that. And who knows whether those folks would be interested in programmatic advertising or agency management software, but here where we can target people who visited our site, that all of a sudden that opens up a TV advertising to B2B, to smaller businesses who just want to target within certain miles of their store and not all the way across the whole DMA. So it really opens up a TV advertising to a whole new group of advertisers I think which is fascinating.

David McBee:
So the targeting is great. Advertisers must like that they can show their ads to people who are of a certain demographic as you just described or in the market to buy from them based on their internet activity. But I want to talk about attribution. So how can an advertiser be confident in their investment in OTT/CTV with Simpli.fi?

Frost Prioleau:
Well, that’s a great question and that’s one of the big attractants of advertisers to CTV over TV. I often say hey, what we see as advertisers come to CTV for the targeting, but then they stay for the attribution when they see what kind of measurement they can get and how precisely they can measure ROI or ROAS on their ad spend. And so really just any type of attribution we see on digital, now we can also apply to CTV. And so it’s really revolutionary for TV advertisers to be able to say hey, I showed this DV or this TV ad, and then someone from that household went to my ad site and bought my product, or signed up for a test drive or signed up for a lead form or what have you. So they can very closely dig in and calculate the cost per sale or the cost per lead or whatever the KPI that they’re measuring.

Frost Prioleau:
The other interesting thing that people love is a foot traffic attribution. So advertising can show ads to particular households and then measure down to the Zip+4 level which of those households actually visited their store, whether that was an auto dealership, a fast food restaurant or their retail store, and how that visitation rate compared to the households in the same demographic that didn’t visit. And so they can see actual foot traffic lift which we provide in our platform and gives them a really good idea not only on how to measure, but how to optimize a campaign and drive better performance. And also a really good understanding of just what sort of households where they’re advertising is most effective with.

David McBee:
I absolutely love that, Frost. I think that these are metrics that display advertisers, digital display advertisers have been kind of used to for years. Are non-TV advertisers, people who have never advertised on television before now embracing OTT/CTV?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah, I think really in two buckets here. One, you have those digital advertisers that we talked to and all of a sudden, they say wow, I’m used to placing banners or ads on laptops and mobile phones, et cetera. And all of a sudden, I can do that same digital advertising, that same targeting on large, very impactful TV ads. So you have that group coming over. And then the other piece again, is the ability for people where it just didn’t make sense. I use Simpli.fi as an example, but think about a local restaurant or what have you that is in West Fort Worth. And the only way that advertisers could buy ads was to buy entire DMA before.

Frost Prioleau:
But they know really their customer base is within a five mile radius or a 10 mile radius. So this ability to target both very precise demographics and very precise locations really opens up TV advertising to a whole host of new advertisers. And that doesn’t have to be like a single location. What we’re seeing a lot of is like franchises. And they’re saying, well, really, to be more effective, I don’t want to target across a whole DMA or a whole city or a whole portion of a city. I just want to target because I know if I’m a grocery store that people are just going to come from five or seven miles within my store. I just want to target those households and they’ll find that to be the most impactful.

David McBee:
All the wonderful benefits of digital that we’ve had for so many years now connected to TV, I love that. All right, so I’m going to ask you maybe the hardest question I’ve got for you, okay. When an advertiser thinks television, they think linear, they think popularity of the channel or popularity of the show. So what do you say to someone who wants to advertise on OTT/CTV, and they want to pick or choose a particular channel or show or app just because it’s a popular platform?

Frost Prioleau:
Well, they can certainly do that. And there’s tons of high quality inventory becoming available or that’s available today and more and more becoming all available all the time in CTV. And in fact, we see linear buyers who tend to think that way, do that and say hey, I want to give you this inventory list. I only want to be on Discovery Channel and Home & Garden TV, or ESPN, or what have you. But really, once they get there and they really sort of understand the audience targeting capabilities, we tend to see them sort of move more towards the direction, and the targeting, the digital buyers who’ve been doing for years, and they’re much more attuned to, and that’s identifying their audiences and exactly who they want to be where those households have, are of a certain age or have been seen to be buying certain products or have searched on certain things.

Frost Prioleau:
So identify those audiences and then target them on where those audiences are visiting. And so what we see is that in that case, typically the site lists or network lists or shows in this case would be not sort of preset, but let’s identify the audience, let’s run the campaign, and let’s see where those audiences are watching the ads. And let’s see on which of those publishers or those networks are the ads being most effective and then focus in the budgets most on those. More as an optimization once a campaign is running as opposed to preset determination that I only want to run on these particular networks.

David McBee:
Yeah, and there does seem to be a bit of a misconception that programmatic inventory isn’t premium. It really reminds me of how advertisers felt about programmatic display a decade ago. Can you help me debunk this myth for OTT/CTV?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah. I mean one of the things we found over the years is that just about everyone has their own definition of premium. To some people, premium is a type of inventory that delivers the best return. To other people, hey, I want to make sure that they’re brand aware and they only want their brand on certain networks or certain types of content. To others, premium is where the audience is. And so, I think the good news is that there is lots of premium inventory today available on CTV, available through programmatic CTV. And this is really a result again of the pandemic and so much inventory being created by the increased watching of streaming TV. And so advertisers can choose how, whether they want to take an audience first approach, whether they want to take a content first approach or somewhere in between.

Frost Prioleau:
And so we have all kinds of channels available, Discovery Channel, Food Channel, ESPN, HGTV, Lifetime TV. We have tons of news channels available if that’s where advertisers want to spend. So it’s really up to the advertiser to determine kind of the guardrails they want to work in. Our typical thing for performance-based advertisers, I think you really want to make sure you’re on high quality inventory, but really set those targeting fairly wide and really be able to see what works. The brand advertiser may say hey, I just want to be on Discovery Channel or what have you, and you can go ahead and deliver out on those particular networks where they think their ads will be most effective.

David McBee:
And speaking of them wanting to be on particular channels, I know that with linear TV buys, an advertiser actually knows when and where their ad will be on, like they’ll know it’s going to be on Ellen at 3:00 PM for example. Now how is that different with a programmatic buy and what would you say to the advertiser who wants to know exactly when and where their ad will air?

Frost Prioleau:
So when, so we have full dayparting capabilities in our platform and most programmatic platforms. So if they only want to, if they think hey, their audience is going to be most receptive to their ad between 1:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon or between 10:00 and midnight some night, you can absolutely do that. But what we find is typically those preconceptions are often those preconceptions are not correct. So what we typically recommend is to use dayparting as an optimization lever, don’t use it as an initial targeting lever. So let’s start off with a campaign that covers the entire day. Let’s see where we’re getting at, where we’re getting the best response, and then as we optimize our algo either manually, or our algorithms will go in and optimize to, for example, the networks and the audience demographics, and the time of day, that’s the combinations that are working the best. And that’s really how you drive the best performance out of campaigns.

David McBee:
Frost, I get the feeling that people watching this webinar are thinking yeah, this all sounds great, but does it really work? Are there any Simpli.fi OTT/CTV success stories you can share with us?

Frost Prioleau:
Oh gosh, we’ve got lots of them. And that’s the beauty of having the attribution as you can see exactly what they are. I would say we can share those, certainly come to our website or talk to your sales rep, and we’ll share those. I mean I think some of the areas that we see really strong success are in e-commerce. All of a sudden performance CTV is a thing and you find e-commerce people who really care about driving online commerce are having great success. We, gosh, over Easter had a food retailer who was pushing meals that would be eaten at home and had a ton of success driving purchases on their website.

Frost Prioleau:
We’re also seeing a ton of success, especially as the economy opens back up, driving foot traffic to stores. There’s a grocery chain that we’re working with very closely. They’re seeing great success driving, using CTV to drive foot traffic to their stores. I think one of the interesting things that we’ve seen also is just auto dealers really focusing in on their demographics. I alluded to an example earlier, but if you think about a Jaguar dealer saying hey, I just want to target households within whatever a 15 or 20 mile radius of my house, but I only want to target those households that have a household income of whatever their number is, $150,000 a year.

Frost Prioleau:
And only those households within that group that have cars coming off leases in the next three months. And so we’re seeing this ability to really target in on particular audiences that’s paying off. So yeah, we’ve got lots of case studies in lots of areas. So yeah, please contact us. And the other one I would just say is political. We’re very busy. Certainly, the political, now we’re seeing some election cycles going again. So political advertisers often know exactly who they want to target, so our household level targeting has been a really strong capability for them.

David McBee:
All right. So let’s talk specifically to agencies that are watching this webinar right now. They’re starting to add OTT/CTV to solutions that they offer their advertisers, but what advice do you have for them on how best to utilize this tactic for their advertisers?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah. So number one, hey, it’s changing quickly in this space. It’s growing more inventories coming online, better targeting is coming online, better attributions coming online. So educate yourself and really keep up to speed on what CTV is today and what it can do for you. But I think the other interesting thing, if you have a specific advertiser in mind, and one of the things we do that has been very helpful is reach out to us and we’ll put together a very specific proposal for your advertiser. And people found that really useful because then they can go back and get feedback. Hey, is this the audience? And really drill down on audiences that the client will want to target far more specific than just the general demographics they’ve done. So really I think some of these, reach out and get a proposal, I think you’d be surprised by the how specific and how targeted TV now could be.

David McBee:
Well, this has been great, Frost. Thank you so much for answering all my questions so thoroughly. Before we wrap things up, can I ask you to maybe take out your crystal ball and tell me what you see in it?

Frost Prioleau:
Crystal ball is always a little fuzzy, David, but maybe this isn’t too insightful or maybe somewhat obvious, but CTV is about 10% of overall TV spending now, right? It’s about $6, $8 billion out of $70 billion of US TV spend. And that’s going to get to 50% before we know it. We’re going to be reading an e-marketer report here in just a couple of years I think. And it’ll be, oh my gosh, CTV is surpassing linear spend. And over time, I love a quote from a gentleman at Roku. I believe he says, over time, all TV will be streamed. And if that’s the case, then all TV advertising will also be streamed. And so it’s absolutely the way we’re headed. We’re in early stages and it will be fun to watch it happen.

David McBee:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Frost. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today.

Frost Prioleau:
Likewise, David. Great talking to you and we’ll talk soon.

David McBee:
And thank you all for joining us. For more information about Simpli.fi’s OTT/CTV solutions, visit us online at simpli.fi or send us an email at hi@simpli.fi.

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