Programmatic-CTV-Agency Workflow

A Look at 2022 with Simpli.fi CEO, Frost Prioleau
 


 

Transcript

 
David McBee:
Hello, and welcome to the Simpli.fi webinar series. I am David McBee, director of training. It’s 2022 and we’re starting the new year off the man, the myth, the legend, my boss, Frost Prioleau, Simpli.fi’s co-founder and chief executive officer. He has agreed to sit down with me today to talk about all the things that will help our advertisers and our agency partners navigate what is a highly-changing marketplace. Good morning, Frost.

Frost Prioleau:
Hey, David. Good morning and happy new year.

David McBee:
Happy new year to you. Did you have a good break?

Frost Prioleau:
We did. Fantastic. And I’m very, very excited about ’22.

David McBee:
Me too. Me too. Awesome. I will admit, I watched a lot of TV. I probably should have moved my body more, but that’s all right.

Frost Prioleau:
You’re good for the CTV inventory out there, so we like that.

David McBee:
Definitely. Okay. So, Frost, I just said that we’re working in a highly-changing marketplace, and I feel like I can say that because, well, I get bored easily. And after nine years at Simpli.fi, I’m never bored. Would you start the webinar off with a high-level peek into what Simpli.fi has in store for 2022 and help our advertisers and agency partners understand why they should be excited for the new year?

Frost Prioleau:
Well, sure. So 2021 was an interesting year. I characterize it as on-and-off or stop-and-go. We came out at the beginning of the year. We thought all systems were go from the endemic or pandemic front. Then we had the Delta, and things slowed down. It was just a stop-and-go year. But at the end a very good year, and we really finished up with some strong momentum, which is great.

We, like always, have a big full plate coming into the next year, and a lot of it’s a continuation on what we’ve been doing. Number one, we strongly believe that our clients will benefit from automation. And so we’re very, very focused on workflow, on automation, on helping our agency clients, our advertisers, our other partners automate the tasks that they do on a day-to-day basis.

Absolutely coming out of the pandemic, people want to be more efficient. And there’s still a lot of work done with Excel spreadsheets and emails going back and forth and swivel chairing. And so we just think there’s a huge opportunity in automation to just help make our partners and customers more efficient, help them reduce errors and help them focus on the things where they add more value as opposed to keying in, re-keying in IOs and aggregating reports together and that sort of thing. So big focus on workflow and automation.

The second part would be CTV. That’s been an ongoing focus. As we know, about $10 billion probably was spent on CTV advertising last year. There’s still 70 billion spent on linear. The eyeballs are absolutely moving to Connected TV watching. I’m sure much of your watching over the holidays was on your own time and that. And so our focus there is just, how do we make it easier for buyers who’ve been buying linear TV to follow those eyeballs over on to Connected TV? And so thinking about things like planning, how they execute IOs and how they measure and aggregate reporting [inaudible] for the folks is on the CTV front.

And then finally, and I think we talked about this last time, David, the performance, we saw the pandemic accelerate all kinds of trends. From an advertiser, we saw really an increased focus on how do we measure, how do advertisers make sure they’re getting the best bang for their buck out of every dollar they’ve spent? And so big focus on helping advertisers drive performance with both attribution, the metrics around there. And really CTV is a great vehicle for performance advertising and really giving advertisers and agencies the tools to both target the audiences to get the best performance, but then measure that performance. So those are some of the main things that we’re thinking about here at the beginning of the year.

David McBee:
That’s good stuff. I want to start by talking more about CTV. Now obviously it’s growing. More than, what would you say, $10 billion were spent on CTV last year?

Frost Prioleau:
Based on some of the reports, correct.

David McBee:
Yeah. So more and more people are obviously cutting the cord and cord stacking. They’re embracing CTV. And yes, 100% of what watched over the break was all CTV. That’s all I watch anymore.

Frost Prioleau:
You’re a valuable demographic, so I’m glad to hear that.

David McBee:
What should advertisers and agencies consider when they’re looking to take advantage of CTV in 2022?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah. So just top line is, as we said, they’ve got to follow the eyeballs, and that’s where eyeballs are going. People have thought of, well really younger demographics think about a quick-service restaurant chain. A lot of their demographic is maybe … I don’t know if you hang out at fast food joints or not, David, but think about that younger demographic, very much a big portion of their viewing is on CTV.

But all the reports we’ve seen is really across all demographics. Old folks like me even are watching CTV. So really advertisers, they need to follow those eyeballs. And then I think once they do, we see the digital buyers go to CTV and just take that as just straight extension from the video advertiser they were doing.

But when linear TV buyers come over, I think the reactions we get are they’re amazed with both the targetability of CTV. We deal with advertisers of all sizes, whether it’s a local yoga studio that just wants to target a very specific audience in a radius around their store because they know people aren’t going to drive more than five miles, or a multi-location retailer might have hundreds or thousands of stores. And they say, “Hey, but I’m a grocery store, and we know that people are going to travel no more than seven or 10 miles.” And so they want to run hundreds of local or hundreds or thousands sometimes of local campaigns targeting the very specific demographic that their product, that their retail outlet is looking for.

Or national advertisers. Think about an eCommerce direct-to-consumer luxury auto brand where they’re saying, “Hey, I know exactly who my target demographic is. I don’t care where they are in the country. They could be buying in Washington or in Florida, but I want to target that specific grant. I want to do that nationwide.”

And so that ability to target a very specific audience, whether on a local basis or nationwide, is really what the targetability has been key. And the scale that they can do that with. What we saw last year was more and more common budgets, all the way down to very small budgets, a few thousand dollars a month up to a million dollar a month budgets that became commonplace. So that targetability at scale is one of the things.

And then the other side is just the measurability and attribution. As you know, linear TV has long been measured based on panels where a relatively small number of households have their viewing habits watched. And then based on that, all viewing nationwide is extrapolated based on those small panels. And so just like with digital, with CTV, you can actually say, “Hey, measure actual delivery based on a census basis.” And so how many households saw the particular show, what the demographics of those actual households that watched that show and saw the ads were big.

So the ability to know exactly where the ad was shown and understand which households responded to that ad helps advertisers get better performance and tune their campaigns and also improve their marketing mix going forward cause they know what messages are resonating with what types of households. So I think that targetability on one hand that we’ve really seen at scale now, and then the measurability and attribution are the main things that are attracting advertisers over as well as following the eyeballs.

David McBee:
And Frost, obviously I come from a digital background, and I did paid search. I did SEO and I’ve been, of course, with Simpli.fi for all these years, doing programmatic display. I love these conversations about targeting and attribution as they relate to television. Can you share with our advertisers a scenario where they could use CTV to actually literally measure their return on ad spend?

Frost Prioleau:
Oh sure, and we’ve got hundreds of advertisers doing this on a monthly basis. And you think about the eCommerce space. And when you think about maybe direct-to-consumer brands, whether they’re selling t-shirts, coffee, facial treatments, what have you, across the board, they’re able to show a CTV ad to a household, and then we can follow that CTV ad. We can show multiple CTV ads to that household, but we can also follow that and complement it with a display ad targeted just to the households who’ve seen the CTV ad. So they’ve had the opportunity to brand and then follow-up to that household with display ads, whether it’s on mobile or desktop or laptop devices.

And what that does is it gives them, the consumer, the opportunity to act on that ad. By clicking on the ad, visiting the website and purchasing or entering a lead form or whatever the desired response is, that enables these eCommerce brands, or really any brand that’s looking at attribution, to exactly measure what they spent on the CTV ad to that household, or for the whole campaign, what they spent on display ads. And then, because it was attributed back to that household through the click-through on the banner ad, exactly which households then converted. And so it’s a remarkably effective and very precise way of measuring the ROI on a campaign like that. And it’s been a really rapidly-growing tactic that we’ve seen for performance marketers.

David McBee:
I love that phrase performance marketing, and that’s not a new phrase to TV buyers. It’s been around for a while. I’m thinking about, in the linear world, those MyPillow commercials that run late at night. What do you want our viewers to know about performance marketing as they dive into the world of CTV? How is it different?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah, great question. And so performance marketing on linear TV remains a large business, very effective. That’s why you see those ads. Typically, and not all the times, but typically you’d see that focus on relatively low-cost inventory where the marketers are casting a broad net, hopefully have a very effective ad that drives people to convert, either go to a website or call a call center to convert. What CTV brings to that is opposed to casting a very broad net at low CPM, CTV gives the ability to target very specific audiences.

So if you think about an exercise bike like Peloton, they know exactly who their audience is, and they can figure out the demographics and who they want to target. I think the biggest thing to understand is that while in CTV, typically the CPMs may be higher than the late night linear TV CPM that they’re paying on a late night linear TV show. It’s often less expensive on a cost-per-action basis because the CTV targeting reduces the waste. And so, although you may be paying a higher CPM, that CPM per the audience you’re targeting is actually lower because there’s so much less waste and you’re targeting the precise audience.

And then in addition to that, with the feedback, have the ability to tune in a real-time basis the targeting and improve the performance. And so it’s a different approach, and it’s a little bit of a different mindset, but we’ve seen it be very, very effective. And especially also when it’s mixed with display advertising, like I mentioned just in the previous example.

David McBee:
Awesome. All right. Let’s shift gears just a little bit. You mentioned, in your very first response, that one of Simpli.fi’s focuses will be agency workflow. Can you touch on some of the things that Simpli.fi is rolling out in 2022 to make life a little easier for our partners?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah, absolutely. So what we’ve seen, and we work with about 1,500 agencies and other advertisers, and especially through the pandemic, when times were tough, they were all looking to become more efficient. And how can they streamline their operations? How can they focus their talent on really the value-added portions of their job, working with their clients and strategizing with their clients? As opposed to have their team bogged down in entering multiple IOs, multiple times, swivel chairs from one to another, aggregated reporting and all the rest. And then even once a campaign’s rolling, how do they move budgets from one tactic to another? I mentioned aggregate reporting. How do they reconcile invoices? All that.

So we hear from our clients that anything we can do to help them become more efficient and more effective in that space is super important. And so we are spending a lot of time and investment integrating agency workflow and improving agency workflow, and then integrating it with media sources, not on our own DSP, but other DSPs, other media vendors as well, so that media buyers in particular can have many of these functions automated and can do more with less and really focus on the more value-added part of their jobs.

And so we think there’s a big opportunity. There’s lots of disparate systems out there used by agencies. We think by both integrating some under our own rooftop, as well as building better connections to other third-party vendors, we can help agencies save a lot of time and really be a good partner to them as they move forward and try to become more efficient as they move forward.

David McBee:
Awesome. All right. So this next question may be a bit of a curve ball, but I’m going to throw it at you anyway, all right? Over the years, Simpli.fi has been a display company, a mobile company, and now we are all talking about CTV. What misconceptions about Simpli.fi as a whole would you like to clear up for anyone looking to possibly work with us in 2022?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah, that’s a great question. And we’ve often gone to market, as you mentioned, kind of on a tactic. Hey, you’re a buyer, what’s the hot tactic? And for a while, it was programmatic display. Mobile geo-fencing is still a fantastic capability for us, and we have a whole built in-house stack that delivers great results there. And CTV is on the top of everyone’s minds now.

But really underneath it all, we are a platform company. We do all those as point solutions, but a lot of the value and really the advertisers and agencies that get the most out and Simpli.fi are the ones who’ve adopted us as a platform because there’s a lot of advantages to running all these tactics under one platform and then further integrating with the software.

We can deliver a lot of benefits to advertisers who adopt, I’d say, the whole stack. And we’re continuing to provide more benefits to adopting that whole stack. But really we see ourselves as a platform to help agencies become more efficient, more effective, whether that’s in their media planning, in their media buying, in their optimization, in their reporting, in their reconciliation, in their accounting. And that’s really our vision is to help automate these agencies and advertisers and really make them better businesses and more efficient and able to grow as they move forward.

David McBee:
Awesome. Awesome. Frost, this has been such a great conversation. I want to thank you for your time, your wisdom, your enthusiasm for the success of Simpli.fi and the success of our partners. I just enjoy talking to you so much, so thank you very much.

Frost Prioleau:
Well, thanks, David. Thanks for all you do. And we’ll hope see you real soon here.

David McBee:
All right, sounds good. I’d also like to thank you, our viewers, for joining us today. If you have questions or you’d like to learn more of out Simpli.fi, please reach out to your account rep or send an email to hi@simpl.fi. Remember you can join us here on the Simpli.fi webinar series at noon central on the second Monday of every month. And if that timing doesn’t work for you, all of our webinars are recorded and archived and made available to you at simpli.fi/webinars. Go check out some of the stuff we produced in 2021. There’s some great content in there. I’m David McBee. Be awesome, and we’ll see you next time.

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