FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, announced the results from a survey of its Strata platform users — most of whom are specialists in local media planning and buying — focused on understanding changes in their advertising strategies in the increasingly fragmented media landscape. Results showed that these agencies are looking at data-driven and advanced TV solutions to help clients reach their customers in new ways.
“Over the past few years, FreeWheel, and many other ecosystem players, from tech companies to distributors, have focused on bringing more automated, audience-based solutions to the local market, and our survey shows that these solutions are resonating with local marketers and their agencies.”
“Data and automation are no longer the sole domains of national brands. It’s clear that all advertisers are now embracing the power of advanced advertising solutions to grow their businesses,” said Joy Baer, General Manager, FreeWheel Advertisers. “Over the past few years, FreeWheel, and many other ecosystem players, from tech companies to distributors, have focused on bringing more automated, audience-based solutions to the local market, and our survey shows that these solutions are resonating with local marketers and their agencies.”
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In terms of advanced TV* specifically, buyers of local and regional advertising still see high value in traditional local and cable TV, but their interest in advanced TV solutions is strong:
- 79% are “extremely or very interested” in using advanced TV, a percentage almost as high as local TV and cable (87%)
- 78% expect their spending on advanced TV to increase over the next 12 months – the highest percentage for any medium in the survey, including digital video, mobile, digital display, local TV and cable
- Clients in retail (21%), healthcare (15%) and auto (13%) represent the largest spending categories on advanced TV.
*Advanced TV is defined as set-top box video on demand (STB VOD), over-the-top (OTT), addressable TV, advanced linear TV and streaming full-episode players (FEPs).
The survey revealed that the top three reasons cited by local and regionally focused agencies for using data-driven, audience-based TV advertising solutions were 1.) delivering hard to reach audiences; 2.) reducing wasted impressions delivered out of target; and 3.) improving cost efficiencies. Slightly more than half of those surveyed (53%) found it easy or extremely easy to effectively measure attribution on advanced TV, 10 percentage points higher than for network TV and cable (43%), but still placing behind the digital media channels.
Progress is also evident in terms of automation. The shift toward data-driven and audience-based buying, coupled with media fragmentation, generally requires greater automation to transact efficiently. As a result, the agencies surveyed are seeing the benefits of automating their buying processes across both digital and linear channels. Even local TV and cable – traditionally very manual buying channels – are beginning to embrace automation: More than a quarter of agencies (29%) now say their processes for buying local are completely or mostly automated.
Moreover, 91% of agencies surveyed said that they now use some form of programmatic buying – a specific area of automation. When Strata conducted a similar survey of users in 2017, approximately 65% were using some form of programmatic buying, with the majority saying that they used programmatic for 10 to 20% of their media buying.
The rise of programmatic and audience-based buying requires the use of data. While 55% of the agencies surveyed believed their current data management capabilities were “good or excellent,” the remainder saw room for improvement. In terms of agency structure, almost 7 out of 10 agencies (68%) said their digital and traditional TV planning and buying processes are now “somewhat or completely integrated,” approximately one-third (32%) said these processes are “completely separate or occasionally overlap.”
The survey was executed via an online survey of 430 Strata platform users (roughly 25% of the company’s client base) from June 13 to July 1, 2019. While Strata users buy all forms of media, every agency who responded to this survey is a buyer of local and regional advertising – often as their primary focus.
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