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TVadSync team up with Centro

We recently announced the expansion of our offering across the US, and our team-up with Centro. Their Basis platform provides us with best-in-market attributes when it comes to real-time retargeting, and helps further cement our position as the leader in this area.

Check out more details here.

Attribution Modelling: Why you’re doing it wrong


Once upon a time, I loved my Nokia 3210. I had never owned anything like it. Being able to text people? Instant connectivity on the move? Snake?! I got so used to (and dependent on) my precious little best friend that I felt that nothing could improve on it. It was everything I’d ever need from a phone. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve an iPhone in my hand. Enough said.

The same sort of thinking can often lead even smart marketers into a world of myopia, where what’s ‘worked’ before will always be enough, or at least will do just fine for now. One of these areas is attribution modelling.

A big problem with traditional attribution models such as last touch, first touch, linear, position based, and time decay is that they rely on a predetermined, subjective weighting being placed on a touchpoint. Additionally, these models often only consider one consumer path at a time, without any consideration for the performance of key variables in any of the other paths. Mostly the only paths that are considered are those that led to a conversion, without considering those that didn’t lead to a conversion. This is where short-sightedness kicks in.

Consider an example. 100 users interact with 3 advertisements (A, B & C) in various ways, but only one user converts.  That user’s path to conversion looks like this: A > B > C > Conversion.  Let’s apply some traditional models.

First Touch: A (100%), B (0%), C (0%)

Last Touch: A (0%), B (0%), C (100%)

Linear: A (33.3%), B (33.3%), C (33.3%)

Time Decay: A (10%), B (30%), C (60%)

A quick look at these and C is the clear winner, with A performing quite well, right?  As an astute marketer your instinct may be to redirect budget from B, to C and A proportionately.  But, you’re not seeing the whole picture.  You’re not considering the paths that weren’t successful.

Now suppose I told you that in the other 99 user’s journeys A featured in 99 of them, C was in 50 of them, whilst B was only in 5.  Do you still think C and A performed best?  Would you still move budget from B?

A and C were involved in so many users’ journeys not leading to conversion. Their hit rate is really low compared to B, but without considering all paths, you wouldn’t know this.

Tip: when considering platforms and providers of attribution solutions, find out what their methodology looks like. Do they use an algorithm that can consider millions of these data points at a time, and apply a data driven performance index to each touchpoint? Or are they reliant on subjective weighting and blinkered analysis? In other words, are they an iPhone of attribution modelling or a poor old Nokia? If they’re the latter, you need an upgrade.

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Smart TV data sources – a few pointers for brands & agencies

The Rise of the Planet of the Smart TVs 

Smart TV

Smart TVs are everywhere. Or, at least, will be very soon. A recent study by eMarketer showed that showed that over 168 million people will use connected TVs in the US this coming year, with smart TV usage accounting for half of these – a figure almost 31% higher than in 2017, with the rapid growth set to continue.

ACR and the World of Tomorrow (and Today)

What does this mean for brand managers, marketers and agencies playing in the TV advertising arena? Well, one of the big opportunities the rocketing number of smart TVs presents is the sheer amount of granular insights that can be gathered on audiences’ TV viewing behavior. Smart TVs, due to the development of Automated Content Recognition (ACR for short), can now recognize what a TV is showing. In other words, there is no guessing anymore as to whether a particular piece of content was shown on a specific device.


Knowing what a TV has shown is one thing, but being able to link that device to a household is another. Through the use of IP address-mapping techniques, however, some vendors are able to do just this, as well as tie other mobile devices to the same household. All of this means cross-platform (TV and online) campaigns can begin to really work as a combination through better-defined audience targeting, and assessing TV’s impact on consumer behavior is now a much more data-driven process.

Sources of data

There are some things for marketers to keep in mind when considering providers however. Scale and privacy issues may crop up, for instance. Players in the market source their TV data in different ways, but the main two options stem from data collection via apps installed on users’ devices, and chips built into the smart TVs themselves. The difference is that the former relies on ‘listening’ to content being shown on nearby TVs in order to understand what is being shown, whereas the latter recognizes the content via the TV itself having an understanding of what it is showing. Both approaches can have merit, but there are issues of scale and privacy for the wary traveler (see: marketer) to keep abreast of.

Scale is the first point of call, with it being an obvious advantage to be able to know, on a definite basis, whether a TV has shown a household particular content. ACR tech built into the TVs means the TV will know what it has displayed automatically whenever it is turned on. However, apps that rely on audio recognition often require the user to have the app open to do this – an obvious problem if reaching millions of households means all of those people need to be using said apps precisely when the content you are looking to recognize is displaying on TV. Some operate quietly in the background, but privacy may become a big concern on this front.

TV manufacturers are now being set a high standard by the Federal Trade Commission when it comes to being very explicit about how they collect and use viewing data. This means that any data collected via built-in ACR chips is subject to very stringent opt-in rules. Apps that rely on listening (either while the app is open or running in the background) are not yet subject to quite the same set of rules (at least if they’re on Android) – but may yet be. Last year the CTD alerted the FTC to a technology called Silverpush, which used this audio recognition ability to track users TV viewing, and called out the the fact that TV viewers are not made aware of the apps that use this tech. Smart marketers may do well to remain aware that regulators are keeping a hawkish eye on this area and make sure their vendors adhere to best-in-class criteria when it comes to user privacy and opt-in processes. Should advertisers’ data sources suddenly come under this kind of scrutiny, it could disrupt campaigns or result in messy legal entanglements.

Where to from here?

ACR tech has the potential to provide brands with an incisive new method of evaluating TV performance and informing campaigns. The reach of this kind of tech is only set to grow, meaning the treasure trove of TV data available will likely increase substantially. But caveats exist, which means that finding providers who adhere strictly to the highest standards as they pertain to privacy is an absolute must.

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Some tools to help keep your brand safe online (and also avoid feeding the bots)


Nobody likes firefighting (except, perhaps, actual firefighters?). Advertisers and media buyers are no different. While ensuring your brand or the brands you work with are protected during online ad campaigns has long been vital, in recent months the issue has really come to the fore once more (to say the least). When potential issues can include placement of your brand on sites or beside content that could be damaging to it, fraudulent sites with bot traffic wasting your precious budget, or simply appearing beside content that isn’t contextually relevant, it’s important that you work with the right vendors and tools in order to ensure maximum safety and effectiveness of your ads. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted some tools we believe are definitely worth your while looking at when planning your next digital campaigns, that can make your life a whole lot easier.


When it comes to validation of digital media, DoubleVerify is a particular favourite and a pretty comprehensive tool. Authenticating the quality of every digital impression that your ad can bid for (before you part with your cash), DoubleVerify will help you make sure that (a) impressions are brand-safe, (b) are fully viewed and (c) are served to the right (i.e. human) eyeballs. Metrics are delivered in real-time, meaning you can keep apace of whether you are purchasing valid impressions at a moment’s notice.


Another very useful tool for guaranteeing brand-safety and impression authenticity. Some of the aspects that Peer39 caters to include contextual targeting, site auditing for safe advertising, viewability, traffic validation and mobile app targeting amongst many more. One great feature on offer is the ability to map topics to particular URLs, thereby giving you the option of targeting people when they’re engaging with specific subject matter. Effective, dynamic reviewing of ever-changing available content is a tricky task to get control of, but Peer39 provides a great solution.

comScore Content Activation

Released in the latter half of 2016, comScore’s Content Activation product allows media buyers and advertisers to better ensure that their ads reach more relevant target audiences in suitable contexts. Through analysis of page content and user behaviour, comScore can put together a better picture of a potentially appropriate content through the generation of detailed criteria, helping advertisers reach the right people across the right kind of sites. After building out placements with these criteria as their basis, advertisers can then integrate these into their DSP quickly and easily. This ensures that targeting via appropriate context is easy for you.


Similar in purpose to comScore’s offering above, Grapeshot helps makes sure you can target audiences via the right content. By constantly monitoring and auditing sites, their content and user behaviour, Grapeshot gives advertisers the ability to recognise which sites are most aligned to their brands and therefore worth targeting. Not only does this mean you’ll likely engage with the right audiences, but being seen alongside complementary content will assist in protecting your brand’s aura.

With the ever-growing importance of ad verification (and ever-imperative brand safety), you can expect this area to increase in the number of competing offerings going around. However, we feel the tools mentioned above are well worth checking out when planning your next online campaigns and will certainly help prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, wondering if your brand is safe and sound or whether bots are eating all of your money. With these tools, you can sleep easy.

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Eight things to consider when choosing a sync-and-retarget advertising partner

Jigsaw pieces

Earlier this month we published a piece in VideoNet giving advice to advertisers and media buyers on what they need to know when choosing a sync-and-retarget partner.

Check out the piece here.

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Ads viewability won’t solve the ‘viewed’ problem

The advertising industry is moving further towards setting a standard where ‘viewability’ of ads is concerned. That’s good news. But what does this actually mean for your ads, and the likelihood that they’ll be seen and remembered by your target audience? After all, this is the aim of the game. How far can purchasing viewable impressions go towards helping to solve the issue of getting views for advertisers?

Viewability & why it’s being worked on 

Kermit not seeing

There’s been quite a bit of chatter in the last several months about viewability in online advertising. Basically, it boils down to this: as an advertiser, you may be buying ‘served impressions’ for your campaigns, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity exists for your ad to actually be seen. Your ad, for example, might be served below the fold (so out of view) on a website, or on a fraudulent site where only bots will ‘see’ it, or sometimes if an ad-blocker is in use. According to a study run by Google in 2016, more than half of ads served online never actually got seen. The thing is, ads like these would still have to be paid for as served impressions on a display network. Marketers may well have simply flung half their budgets into a furnace. Recently, however, the problem has begun to be addressed by bodies like the IAB, ANA, MRC and 4A’s, with said organisations working with networks to try to settle on viewability standards. Meaning advertisers can pay for impressions that have a high chance of being seen.

The ‘viewed’ problem, and why it won’t be solved by viewability


So that’s all good news from an advertiser’s perspective, and helps them stand a better chance of having their ads engaged with. But it’s not a guarantee by any means. Having a high viewability rate for your ads does not necessarily translate into actual ROI. Ads, for example, can meet viewability standards but simply be overlooked, or seen but not recalled later. And it’s also possible that, with the adoption of viewability standards, publishers can often feel forced into cramming the upper section of a page with ad-space or face having served impressions that don’t result in monetization for them. This may mean advertisers having more trouble rising above the visual noise, grabbing attention and encouraging recall.

A few ways to deal with it

Long story short – viewable impressions matter and make sense, but are definitely not the end of the road where creating engagement and getting people to view ads  is concerned. Advertisers and media buyers need to remain aware that plenty of other factors remain hovering around, waiting to be given due consideration. Placement and creative type, for example, still matters – viewers scan sites a certain way, paying more attention to specific sections. Context and relevance should still be thought of – native advertising can work well here, and thoughtful targeting (e.g. accurate audience modeling) is irreplaceable. Using in-image or in-stream video can also help improve the chances of gaining the attention of your target audience. And don’t forget about the quality of the creative itself, of course! Ads themselves need to be well put-together and thought out if people are to find them eye-grabbing and compelling.

Seeing the bigger picture

Creating viewability standards is a step forward, but advertisers can’t fall into the myopic  trap of believing that paying for viewable impressions will solve all of their problems and result in waves of clicks and conversions. There’s more to a successful campaign than that and a bigger picture that needs to be looked at….viewed, if you will. 🙂

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5 most interesting things in ad land right now

So what’s been going on recently in our world and yours? Let’s have a look…

Expedia Shares a Powerful Message of Global Togetherness Amid a Divisive Inauguration

Starting off with the biggest news of the week, the year and possibly the century – it’s the inauguration of (*pinches self*) President Trump. Obviously some of the rhetoric up to this point has been pretty divisive. Adweek have highlighted an example, courtesy of Expedia, of how important advertising’s role in countering all of this can become. Check it out by clicking on the link above.

The Dallas Cowboys could be the first NFL team to move into the $890 million e-sports industry

Not content with being the most valuable team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys look like they’re now moving into the world of gaming – specifically eSports. It’s a growing industry (almost pushing $1bn a year) and could offer them a fantastic means to engage their fans. Will many other sports teams follow suit? Watch this space….

Report: by end of 2017 there will be more than 30MM voice assistants in US homes

Marketing Land outline how approximately 30 million US homes will be using voice assistants by the end of the year. While applications related to this are struggling to gain traction with users right now, things are expected to improve. Have a look at the link above.

Wal-Mart Enters Car-Selling Business

Wal-Mart appear set to take a chunk out of the car-selling market, partnering up with various dealership groups to make the leap.

The global state of fake news in 5 charts

Fake news was one of the major themes of 2016, and continues to own it’s share of (real and fake) headlines going into 2017. Digiday give a breakdown of the state of things.

How marketing and traditional simplicity won the day for Trump

Continuing with Trump’s victory in the presidential campaign, The Drum present a fantastic article on how he leveraged some old-fashioned thinking regarding branding to come out on top. For a lot of people, his was the right brand, with the right message at the right time – and that is always tough to beat. Check out the article via the link above.

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Reaching fans, in real-time, at the perfect time – getting your sports marketing right

With the mega-event known as Super Bowl LI less than a month away, we thought we’d take a look at some of the ways advertisers can capitalize on live sporting events to capture viewers’ attention and create brand engagement. Some of live TV’s most emotive moments come from seeing the perfect play executed, or watching (jaw on the floor) as your team scores in the dying seconds to emerge triumphant. Sport is full of these highs and lows. And, if you’re an advertiser, these are exactly the kind of rushes of euphoria that brands can make the most of. Or rushes of despair, if you sell pizza and ice-cream.  😛

Putting the fans front and center 


All good marketers know that placing your customer at the core of your branding efforts is key. They’re who you want to engage, so you better keep them in mind – and the kind of experience they’re looking for – when building marketing around a sporting event. And viewers are primed for interaction. A recent study conducted by Momentum Worldwide revealed that 86% of sports fans would welcome more sponsorship and marketing centred around their favourite sporting events. However, only 17% of fans feel that brands associated with teams and events actually care about them. This obviously presents a problem for brands trying to reach out – but there are ways to fix this. Marketers should, for one thing, leverage social as best as they can. Enhancing the fans’ overall experience of an event is crucial, and social channels play an important role in this. 58% feel that sharing content and updates makes the whole event more enjoyable, with half loving the content that other fans produce. Brands can create forums to facilitate this, presenting a big opportunity to engage. Fans also love rituals and traditions – 63% cited this as important. Spotting this is something Gatorade played to perfection with their ‘Gatorade Shower’ app. And don’t forget about partying! Hosting viewing parties is a major source of enjoyment for sports fans and something brands can leverage to everybody’s benefit.

TV or not TV? That is the question 


Big live games mean big ratings, something large advertisers are all too aware of. Take the Super Bowl for example. This year a 30-second slot during the game is going to cost a whopping $5 million. It is the single biggest one-off sporting event in the world and the numbers show it – every year they go up. But what if you don’t have that kind of budget, or you do (kudos to you) and you want to supplement your TV spend with some other effective methods of engagement? Below are three ideas on how to tap into the power of live sport without having to rob a bank first.

Hijack the big day out (with real-time viewing data)

‘Conquesting’ & ‘brand piggy-backing’ are two great ways of leveraging the exposure that either a competitor or complementary brand/product gets when they advertise on something as large as the Super Bowl for example (or smaller events too). The basic idea is to sync your own digital advertising with their TV exposure to gain optimal traction with your (shared) target audience. Mercedes showing their TV spot during the main event? Well, if you’ve a car dealership it could make total sense to run digital ads at the same time. This, coupled with the availability of real-time viewing data (i.e. knowing exactly who’s watching said sporting event and how to reach them), means targeting your ads at just the right time is well within any brand’s reach. Sync it to a tent-pole advertising campaign, and surf on the wave of interest that follows.

Buyers ahoy!

‘Telescoping’ (sorry about the pirate reference, hard to resist) can be a super way of building on your TV efforts and further developing the story your marketing is trying to tell about your brand. Essentially this involves an interactive prompt popping up as an overlay on your TV ad. It allows viewers to click on the overlay and view (for instance) a longer, more in-depth version of your ad or description of your product, or click to buy. This can allow you to position shorter commercials around expensive sporting event time-slots, while offering your viewers the opportunity to engage further (at less expense to you). In essence, your TV spend goes further and your story deeper.

Magic moments

What better way to make someone feel great about your brand than getting right in front of them immediately after their team has scored! A combination of audience building (both historical and real-time), live event tracking and digital ads syncing can mean that anytime a fan’s emotions are running wild, you can be there (either to celebrate with them or pick up the pieces – I refer you to my pizza and ice-cream comment above).

Winning the game 

Team celebrating

Live events are a sure-fire way of reaching out to and engaging with fans at the perfect time. Whether you want to capitalize on feel-good moments to help create a positive association with your brand, or you’d like to run concurrent call-to-action ad campaigns to generate leads and sales, there are many ways to use the power of sport to your advantage. So why wait? As the mighty swoosh would say: Just Do It.

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5 most interesting things in ad land right now

We’re back with another round-up of news from the wonderful, mad world of ad-land and all things digital and TV-related. Here’s what caught our attention this week.

MarketingTech’s 12 top 2017 predictions from martech experts

Marketing Tech News got 12 martech authorities to gaze into their crystal balls and make their predictions for how the area will change 2017 and what marketers should look out for.

‘Storm of lies’: The state of fake news in Europe 

The problem of fake news has become very prominent recently, and one dangerous way it manifests is in sites that can promote hate. But, as Digiday outlines, some advertisers are taking a stand against them. Check out the article to find out more.

Next year’s 10 most important new TV shows

Media Life Magazine outline what they think are the 10 new TV shows likely to become the hits of 2017. Media planners take note.

65% Of Connected Device Owners Open To IoT Advertising 

Connected devices already play a big part in our lives and with that influence likely to grow further, marketers are looking for ways to leverage it. And, maybe surprisingly enough to some, consumers seem pretty receptive to this.

Digital or TV? The false dichotomy in advertising 

We’ve already written a piece that touches on this theme (check it out here), but the folks at Marketing Land have also had their say on why digital and TV both need to be part of an advertiser’s plans.

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TV ads on the way out? Not quite…

Everybody’s favourite habit of late is bashing poor old TV and its place in any marketing mix. A common theme among posts related to media and advertising is the inevitable rise of digital ad-spend – how it will soon overtake spending on TV and how this heralds the end for TV advertising. Money goes where eyeballs are, after all. Some commentators have weighed in on why TV is suffering. But on closer inspection, not everything stands up to scrutiny. Check the points below, and why we think they’re not the insurmountable issues some people think they are. If anything, within each lies an opportunity for TV advertising to take its next steps forward.

Second-screen distractions

TV and mobile phone

Mobile devices, as anyone not living under a rock for the past 10 years can tell you, have exploded (that’s not a dig at Samsung). They’re everywhere, and with us practically 100% of the time. We’re always using them and, especially during TV ad-breaks. The point here is that they can act as a distraction while TV ads desperately call out for our attention, thereby rendering the TV spots ineffective.

But…is this truly the case? In a mobile world, do TV ads have a place? Absolutely! We know this because we’ve built a business around it. (Warning: shameless plug approaching!)

Our own experiences running digital campaigns that are complementary to our clients’ TV ad campaigns consistently show us that, rather than digital working against TV, the two are able to work perfectly in unison to produce results and engagement that neither one can do alone.

We’ve seen double the uplift in engagement when TV and digital campaigns run in this kind of symbiotic way. The results speak for themselves and are always far better-performing than when either medium is used in isolation. TV ads still can play a huge part in the cross-device conversation, particularly the kind of ‘call-to-action’ television that benefits from simultaneous PPC campaigns. For e-commerce of all kinds (think retail, travel, apps, online entertainment etc.) this double-act can be a godsend.

ROI of TV ads – impossible to calculate?


Traditionally, TV ad ROI has been a difficult fish to catch, and this is essentially down to a historical inability to record accurate, granular viewing data. To put it simply, ascertaining who exactly saw your TV spot and how it influenced their subsequent behaviour (and whether or not they became a paying customer) was kind of a frustrating guessing game. But with the advent of more sophisticated approaches to TV content recognition, as well as purchase attribution, this is no longer the case. One of our own key offerings is the ability to accurately measure the actual influence your TV or digital campaigns have on a purchase decision, and is something that shows that TV is as relevant to the buying journey as it ever was. The argument that TV lacks accountability is, simply put, obsolete.

OTT content competing for eyeballs 

Video subscription button

Thank the stars for Netflix! Personally, we’d be lost (and extremely bored) without it and a world of other OTT content to fill our evenings. But how badly is this hurting TV ads? Does the rise of OTT spell the end for TV advertising? Well…not exactly. Plenty of other big players (think AT&T and their DirecTV Now service) are entering the on-demand streaming game too, and have touted the long-term value of TV advertising as being key to their investments – addressable ads in particular. Being able to target viewers to the level of detail that addressable ads can (via the mountains of data facilitating them) definitely stands to be a watershed in TV advertising. Crucially, it also means that shows with smaller audiences and ratings can still be of great value, if the right ads can still be show to the right person at the right time. This means producers and broadcasters can squeeze more value out of all of their content inventory, and keep TV relevant to advertisers.

Not quite time for a eulogy yet…

Zombie hand

Let’s be clear about something. Ratings for the major networks haven’t been great in the past couple of years in terms of growth. There is definite competition, in particular, from OTT services. But this doesn’t mean the end for TV – far from it. What we’re witnessing now is not so much the devolution of TV and its place in the advertising spectrum, but an evolution. As viewers migrate to OTT models and away (in part) from linear TV, advertising spend will adapt to this. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that digital is going to swallow TV advertising whole. The two are not engaged in the zero-sum battle that passing observers might claim, but stand to be a great double-act in turning viewers into buyers. As its evolution develops, TV will continue to offer a bridge between an advertiser and a valuable customer. As long as this is the case, it will have a place in any smart media buyer’s plans.

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