Inside Media Platforms and Monetization

Person looking at multiple screens
July 18, 2022 Xperi

Data Quality Replaces Quantity as Top Priority for Advertisers and Brand Managers In Search of Better Performance and Accountability

The digital advertising industry has moved past its nascent stages of development and is establishing a much more subtle and nuanced perspective in delivering—and measuring—performance. Advertisers and brand managers are looking for innovative strategies that integrate traditional TV linear initiatives with data-driven digital engagement activities to target audiences across their devices.

This is especially true as Connected TV (CTV) advertising picks up steam. In the United States alone, CTV ad spend is expected to increase by a whopping 39 percent in 2022, outpacing social media video ads (projected to expand by 26 percent), while video ad spending for all other media grows by 16 percent, according to the most recent research from Statista.

As the industry evolves to absorb these dynamics, the focus is moving beyond a “land grab” strategy that revolves around capturing the maximum amount of data to reach target audiences. Instead, efforts are shifting to capture, analyze and make decisions on cleaner and more accurate data about consumers.

This was the key conclusion of a breakout session on media platforms and monetization over the course of the recently held 2022 Xperi Media Day.

According to session moderator Fariba Zamaniyan, vice president, data and advertising at TiVo/Xperi, new alternatives to conventional linear display advertising have fundamentally changed the rules of engagement and the keys to success in the industry. With the “genie now out of the bottle” due to rapid CTV penetration in households, advertisers and brand managers are reassessing their go-to-market strategies. In so doing, she said, new questions about the relationship between data quality and the future of monetization have emerged.

Combating Pervasive Ad-Fraud

While the industry has always considered itself to be data-driven, new realities in the market—including the fact that the industry faces unprecedented levels of fraud and manipulation—require comprehensive strategies for separating clean data from dirty data.

According to David Finkelstein, Chief Executive Officer of BDEX, a provider of intelligent real-time data for modern marketers and a strategic partner of TiVo/Xperi, his firm captures roughly “40 billion separate data points per month” to support the analytical needs of the industry.

The goal, he said, is to ethically correlate and validate the identity of individuals across their different screens (mobile devices, tablets, computers and TVs) in a privacy-compliant manner. This is so advertisers can have confidence that they are reaching real people who have interests and desires aligned with the messages being brought to market.

BDEX is applying proprietary machine learning (ML) technology to separate legitimate data from questionable—or outright fraudulent—information to address the sheer scale of data captured, processed and analyzed. This is being done in near-real time. In the process, said Finkelstein, BDEX’s ML algorithms identify “hundreds of millions” of invalid data points every single month.

Integrating Managed Services with Programmatic Advertising

According to Walt Horstman, senior vice president, monetization at TiVo/Xperi, industry leaders need to step back and review all assumptions about reaching target audiences across the entire ecosystem (including TVs and digital devices). However, the reevaluation process should not result in throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Maintaining a sense of balance, he said, is key. Not long ago, the industry’s principal focus revolved around the talent (actors) and the concepts (genres) of programs in the context of how viewers would engage during different times of the day on different days of the week. While it is true, noted Horstman, that big data analytics and the application of ML and other emerging technologies are now playing a critical role in targeting legitimate audiences, it is also important to remember that the quality of programming itself should not be forgotten.

That is why a balanced approach to managed services at the “top of the waterfall” must be carefully thought through and integrated with the programmatic advertising activities executed at the middle and lower segments of the waterfall. The partnership between BDEX and TiVo/Xperi, stated Horstman, provides the industry with an opportunity to engage in this nuanced end-to-end discussion.