The future of TV and digital video advertising is fuzzy, but the market’s present picture isn’t all that clear either. During closed-door sessions this week at Digiday’s Future of TV Summit in Palm Springs, California, ad buyers vented about some of the biggest frustrations they face, such as convincing clients to look beyond linear TV to OTT, organizing TV and digital buying teams and assessing what is true addressable TV advertising.

On convincing TV advertisers to invest in OTT
“With traditional TV buys, there are a lot of added-value opportunities. When you look at it from a CPM basis, it can look beneficial. The challenge is trying to swing clients from traditional toward digital.”

“Now that OTT is on the rise, clients want to understand it. It’s less relevant to TV buyers but more relevant to digital buyers.”

“We built so much on such crap. People are questioning TV math less because it’s been around for over 50 years.”

“OTT and traditional TV seem apples to apples because the output is the same. But it’s really not in terms of the application of data and being able to target.”

“For us [the value of] OTT is about being able to monitor frequency against the audience digitally.”

“The CPM can be higher [for OTT ads], but the actual dollars spent are lower than linear TV because of targeting.”

“We inherently believe there’s a stronger connection between someone watching a video in OTT. But when you look at the tools that are available to plan and project, the tools are so archaic. We’re making very big estimates and guesstimates to try to compensate for that because we don’t have the tools we need.”

“The best way to transition clients [to OTT] is to help them understand it as another TV channel and not get so strung up about ‘TV dollars that are now being taken by digital.’”

“At the end of the day, there is no new advertiser money. The CEO and CMO are going to be accountable for the share price. And so the question becomes: how efficient is TV?”

On organization challenges
“A lot of the impetus for buying television comes from our brand team. But we judge based on ROI, which we look to our performance team to solve. And they don’t necessarily have a good answer.”

“It’s a struggle organizationally because we don’t have resourcing for TV specifically.”

“Some clients don’t even know they have a problem. It’s because they have a TV [ad buying] team, a digital team, an e-commerce team. They are all in siloes, and so their agencies are in siloes. So they actually have some issues that they don’t even know that they need to talk about.”

“It’s something that’s going to come up a lot more: The whole organizational structure needs to be blown up at the agency level and the client level.”

“You can watch YouTube on connected TV, so where does that fit in your budget? I differentiate less by device because it’s making less sense.”

“We’re a digital agency. On our larger accounts, we’d be working with a traditional agency, so it’d be two businesses fighting for the budget. Clients were getting frustrated and forced us to get more agnostic.”

“The biggest problem is different agencies who worry about giving up power to each other.”

“For the buyers, it’s about control. TV guys know TV and don’t want to learn something new. The digital guys are thinking, ‘I know how to buy digital and now I have to spend time teaching these [TV] guys how to do that?”

“We are a department of 20 people versus 500 people at larger shops. The order came from the top that we’re going to be integrated and figure [digital video and TV buying] out.”

On data challenges
“Big dollar decisions have been made on bad data for a long time, right? It’s always been about getting the industry to buy your bad data.”

“We have almost walked away from the big attribution players because they don’t work. The biggest thing that impacts one’s performance is word of mouth — which does not play into anyone’s model.”

“It’s unbelievable the amount of data we need to put together the attribution picture.”

On the inability to measure
“You can’t plan TV and video cohesively. There are really good ways of measuring a lot of it, but they all come with the trade-off of not everything you want to buy is measurable.”

“The players actively don’t want to be measured. Like YouTube. How do you plan across YouTube and the rest of the video landscape?”

“We rely heavily on digital and social as measurable channels. When marketers can’t see the return, can’t see the measurability, they dismiss the channel.”

On addressable TV anxieties
“It’s a lot of questions [to figure out if companies are selling truly household-level addressable ads]. A lot of phone calls.”

“With linear addressable, which is live addressable, DirecTV and Dish are the two who can go to the household level. It’s important to understand when it’s actually addressable and when it’s zip code-level addressable or addressable.”

“The whole point of addressable is addressing you and your next-door neighbors. If you want to add another layer of people who are like that, that’s great, but it’s not finite.”

“It’s almost like paying twice the CPM for a smaller universe and betting all your eggs that the data is correct.”

“Is it worth it? Is the premium price worth it?”

“I’m fine running in sports and wherever else as long as the right person ends up seeing my ad. A feminine hygiene ad against a dude is completely wasted.”

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