TV and Video Outlook: Q&A with ComScore's Anthony Psacharopoulos

We recently released our ‘2017 UK 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 Anthony Psacharopoulos, EVP at comScore, Inc.

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


Is this a good time to be an advertiser?

Today’s data landscape is complicated, but offers tools that have never before been available to marketers. Not without its challenges, we’re in
an exciting time for the use of technology and automation to truly optimize and modernize advertising. Here are a few key topics I’ve seen in the industry, and thoughts on where we’re headed moving forward.

What is the role of age/gender targeting in today’s advanced media landscape?

Age and gender will always remain important targeting characteristics in advertising. Yet, with the advances in data availability, we’re seeing more and more advertisers move beyond these two traditional targeting criteria to now include advanced audience profiles. These advanced audiences are based on consumers’ interests, online and offline behaviors and buying habits.

It sounds like an obvious move, but up until recently there wasn’t necessarily enough data scale to allow for effective targeting beyond age and gender. Being able to not just plan, but also activate and evaluate performance, using these advanced audiences is a very powerful thing for advertisers. We’ve made great strides on this in 2016, and suspect we’ll see even more in 2017.


What are some of the most common forms of advanced data being used by marketers?

There are many types of advanced data available. There are more obvious groups like purchase data, but it also extends to obscure sources such as TV retargeting, content context or mobile location data.

To give an example of each:

  • TV retargeting: With an understanding of a consumer’s TV consumption habits – and thus exposure to TV advertising – marketers can build online targeting segments with the specific goal of either building reach and/or frequency. For example, a marketer can find audiences online that were not exposed to the TV campaign to drive incremental reach, or they can seek out those already exposed to the TV ad and deliver yet another marketing message or advertisement online to achieve desired frequency goals – often at an efficient rate.
  • Content context: Let’s say you’re a retailer in the home and garden space. By leveraging information that shows which of your customers are looking at specific home and garden content online, you can find consumers who are about to embark on a Spring housekeeping project. It helps to find people at a specific place within the purchase funnel.
  • Mobile location data: A retailer’s primary concern is online or in-store conversion. So, a really smart targeting technique for a large retailer is to reach people shopping at their competitor’s retail store. Working with partners like Videology, marketers can leverage data from several of the mobile location data providers and explicitly target individuals that shop at a given competitor.

To reiterate, age and gender serve a great purpose in branding and reaching broad audiences, but by considering advanced demographics, marketers can drive lower-funnel metrics such as conversions and in-store visitation.


How far along are we in terms of true cross-platform, holistic planning and buying?

Consumers now view content on a multitude of devices, and with that, are exposed to ads on a multitude of devices.

Yet, even with this shift, much of advertising planning is still done in silos – meaning one group owns digital, one group owns TV, one group owns mobile etc.

To achieve true success, marketers need to break through those silos and integrate their strategies so they can better understand things like cross- platform reach and frequency. Integrated, cross- platform measurement is undoubtedly key in encouraging this shift away from silos – and comScore is at the forefront of this.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to cross-platform measurement is deduplication. Without proper deduplication methods, for example, marketers run the risk of delivering excessive frequency. Let’s say I was exposed to an ad on mobile, TV and desktop – that’s not a reach of three and a frequency of one, but the other way around - a reach of one, and a frequency of three. This has a major impact on a campaign if you’re working out your GRPs, or your target rating points.

Layer in TV, and now that whole frequency and reach issue becomes exacerbated.

How is comScore tackling the challenge of cross-screen reach and frequency?

comScore has actually been working on this industry challenge for several years, starting
with our work with ESPN where we worked to deduplicate audiences across mobile, desktop and TV.

And again, to get this right is not just a question of scale, or of reaching critical mass on every platform. You also need to have the right methodology
by which you can understand if someone is, for instance, watching ESPN content on multiple devices, as this is still one person.

There are two big challenges to making this a reality: organizational reality and technological hurdles.

It’s very challenging in fact. As a result, some of the biggest companies we work with are still trying to break down those silos, and there is obviously a big move towards wanting to achieve that. Tech companies are paving the way to accomplishing these goals. Videology has done some really innovative work in deduplicating audiences across TV and digital, resulting in the ability to frequency cap across the two biggest, and most siloed, advertising channels.

The good news is, while this is harder to do, it’s also more effective. We’ve shown there is a non- linear positive effect upon adding platforms to a campaign. In other words, starting with TV, then adding mobile, tablet and print – you see an increase in store sales as you add them all together.

How is helping marketers close the loop between targeting and results?

Historically, comScore has played in two spaces: provisioning data to help business plan campaigns, and measuring their success post-execution.

What we noticed is that leading marketers (buy, sell, ad-tech etc.) are all trying to do the same thing-- close the gap between planning and measurement—and, that’s why we’re working with a number of large advertisers on, what we call, Activation.

Activation is the provision of data at scale, typically on a census basis, and as often as a daily cadence. It uses the same methodology that we employ on campaign measurement to measure effectiveness. It’s delivered in small units so we consider it very micro. And these data are usually tied to clients’ CRM directly, resulting in highly actionable data that can be leveraged when building powerful, and precise targets. This type of data application really closes the gap between the data used in planning and that used in actual delivery.

In addition to census-based demo data, this same premise works for the advanced demographic
data I talked about earlier. Using data tied to a CRM dataset, advertisers can improve customer understanding, which feeds into their ability to segment and reach the right customer with the right message at the right time based on what their customer is doing.

So it is a good time to be a marketer?

I think so. Absolutely.

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