TV & Video Outlook: Q&A with Andrew Feigenson

We recently released our ‘2017 North American TV and Video Outlook’ featuring interviews with technology and agency leaders from the advertising industry.  Below’s excerpt from the report features a Q&A with Andrew Feigenson, Managing Director, Digital at Nielsen.

Read Andrew's full Q&A below and download our full report here.


How would you describe the state of the video market in 2016? What do you expect to see happen in 2017?

Video grew pretty extensively in 2016, as did programmatic, so overall you could say there was significant growth in programmatic video. However, the distribution in that space was varied. Using technology is quickly becoming table stakes, but sometimes it’s done by independent companies, sometimes by agencies and sometimes by tech stacks inside larger companies.

This year, we saw the industry move towards wider agreement on the types of metrics that are being used as part of a baseline. Two important ones being audience composition and viewability.

Looking ahead to 2017, I hope we move towards being a less gimmicky industry, placing higher emphasis on greater accountability, and much more comparability across different mediums. Additionally, I am excited to see more brands taking steps to adapt to a more mobile world. My sense is that there will be a reckoning for companies that aren’t focused on implementing mobile throughout their strategy in a real way.


Have brands understood how to best leverage the value of data?

When talking about video, especially premium video, it’s crucial to be able to leverage data that looks at larger context of consumer. We do a lot of stuff online, but our whole lives are not lived online. We see ads outside of the digital world, we consume products outside of the digital world. So, it’s incredibly important that brands look to understand what happens outside of digital in order to make more informed decisions around how to engage with consumers At Nielsen, we’re working on exciting collaborations that allow marketers to get their arms around this data and have a more complete view of who a consumer is and the different kinds of media they’re exposed to.


What about cross-device strategy?

Clearly we’re living in a world where consumers use a lot of devices – and the data that’s being used for segmentation, for planning, and for measurement really needs to be comparable and consistent across all those devices. When you look at cross-device strategies, they have historically they have been more silos cobbled together rather than truly comparable metrics. Total Audience is

a core priority for us for that reason because we know how important it is for buyers and sellers to have measurement they can use to transact with confidence across platforms.

The planning, and the actual allocation of ad dollars, is going to start coming together much more closely in 2017. And video and TV, as the behemoth in terms of spend, will of course be key to that.


How has ‘programmatic’ evolved from display to video?

The digital display industry grew off the back
of print advertising, primarily newspapers and magazines. And the type of advertiser, as well as the consumer of that type of content, are a little bit different to TV and video. In particular, TV has tended to be more of an upper-funnel mechanism. Additionally, advertisers are continuing to try to find out where they get the right amount of reach, especially as they grapple with lower ratings on linear TV, and look to understand digital video better from an upper funnel perspective.

My recommendation for 2017 would be for brands and publishers to keep an eye on the right type
of KPIs, to understand that upper funnel. In my view, it’s very much going to be about reach and effectiveness, rather than clickthroughs.


What are the smartest marketers doing to gear up for success in 2017?

As we look at data in digital we tend to want to focus on the promise of segmentation but it’s hard to build a brand without building and maintaining a common cultural understanding around it.

Consider a luxury sports car—there aren’t that many potential buyers. A brand could choose
only target people in market for a car in that price range, or those that will be soon, but the strategy won’t maintain market share or yield greater brand strength if other people don’t hold the car in the same esteem as the person viewing the ad. This can happen with cars, with clothing, even with dishwashing liquid because at the end of the day, great brands are still built, grown and sustained

by connecting with consumers through a common cultural narrative. And so as we look forward to 2017, I think marketers need to understand how they build the common cultural narrative around a broader reach, in addition to just targeting microsegments.


What are the most notable changes you’ve seen in how brands think about and plan their TV and digital budgets?

I think right now brands have two problems: reach and trust.

TV continues to be the largest driver of reach,
but it is increasingly difficult to get reach through this medium, especially in certain coveted demographics. Theoretically, brands would make this up with digital, but with concerns around trust in digital – primarily viewability and fraud – that hasn’t necessarily been the case. In fact some have even increased TV spending in the past year.

The baseline question for these brands is going to be how they fit TV and digital video together in a way that achieves their brand metrics, with a high degree of trust behind it.


How are brands succeeding in this new world of fragmentation and multi-screen, anytime, anywhere viewing?

One of the biggest fragmentation challenges is the predictability of how advertising impacts outcomes. It used to be that brands could look at the number of GRPs run on TV, and they could get some degree of predictability around how many products would sell as a result.

The new devices in market offer exciting advertising opportunities, but they’re much less predictable. Additionally, ad formats come and go pretty quickly, and sometimes you’ll see a format come out that works well, only to become less effective over time as the novelty wears off. Getting from fragmentation to predictability is a challenge we still need to solve.


In your experience, what kind of video content is most effective?

I’ll steal something from the Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen here. He talks about understanding what type of job you’re trying to do for people. And clearly we’re not always trying to do the same job depending on the brand, campaign, audience or media.

In a social video environment, which is really meant to be social, I’m doing a job that has to do with communication. If the environment is video reviews, clearly the job is different. And if it’s long form video, we’re talking more about entertainment and a lean back experience. You can certainly look at time spent on each being different, but ultimately they just do different jobs for people.

Especially for brands, I would say understanding the mindset of the viewer in each of these types of environments is key to its effectiveness.

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