NAB Show Express: Selling CTV with Data-Driven Audience Activations

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The NAB Show Express launched its virtual sessions last week, including one organized by BIA Advisory Services: Strategies and Case Studies in Advanced TV Ad Selling. It featured NBCU Owned Stations’ Shawn Makhijani, head of strategy and business development for NBC Spot On; Sinclair’s head of CompulseOTT, Brian Hunt, and Azita Manson, Founder/CEO of OpenZNet who’s done very interesting work in ATSC 3.0. The discussion examined recent case studies that show how targeted ads are key for local broadcast TV – activating local audiences and increasing revenue.

Ad-supported OTT has seen dramatic increases in viewing during the pandemic and that has attracted a boost in advertisers’ attention to this ad channel. Most of the premium video impressions sold are those on Connected TVs. The compelling brew of premium video, data-driven audience targeting, growing audiences and the need for more efficiency and performance in challenged staffing and budget times have put CTV into a new tier in many marketing plans.

Makhijani observed that, “targeted ads and and new audiences are key for local broadcast TV” to grow their client value and revenue opportunities. While local TV stations deliver value audience segments, buyers want both more precision in defining and activating local audience segments in premium video environments at scale, and they want to extend their audience reach beyond what over-the-air local TV can deliver by itself. Using premium NBCU program content in the OTT channel is a win-win for local broadcasters and clients by providing one-stop shopping for linear and digital premium video audiences.

Hunt also said that well over 90 percent of CompulseOTT impressions sold are on Connected TV. For data targeting, CompulseOTT offers over 6,000 audience segments to target with zip code level geotargeting. With the growing interest in data privacy and the digital ad industry’s move away from third-party cookies, audience targeting increasingly relies on opt-in first-party data. CTV doesn’t use cookies and has significant first-party data that can be further augmented via matches in data management platforms.

Hunt shared a CompulseOTT case study for a college that used OTT audience targeting to drive new enrollments. Partnering with Equifax, CompulseOTT activated an audience segment defined as households with teens at home, 16-18 years old, with a 529 College Savings account. A three-month campaign delivered 1 million impressions per month. The campaign over-delivered on KPIs and lead to the college purchasing additional digital advertising from Sinclair.

Manson cited research showing that targeted ads lead to a 4 percent revenue lift for publishers making this a significant opportunity. She cited targeting challenges including lack of personalization, cost model differences, need to adopt a new ecosystem and the reality that more targeting means narrower audience slices to be found and actioned. Manson’s proposed solution is to deploy an enhanced layer featuring a two-way relationship between advertisers and users who provide opt-in data in exchange for some value.

The video-on-demand session is available from NAB Show Express here.

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