Google Fiber TV Ad Trials Test Real-Time Data

23 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Fiber will sell ads in Kansas City tied to TV viewing habits.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the world’s largest online search company,is introducing a way to deliver targeted TV advertisements through its Fiber TV service.In an announcement made on a Google forum group, the Fiber team said that in the next few weeks, it’ll begin showing ads that will be digitally delivered in real time and can be matched based on geography, the type of program being shown (eg, sports or news), or viewing history.

Google’s broadband “Fiber” initiative and its TV ad measurement businesses will dovetail nicely, at least as part of a Kansas City pilot, Adweek reports. “Every household with Google Fiber, obviously, has a Google Fiber box. The new ad delivery method, which will initially be limited to Kansas City, will use data from advertisers and Google set-top-boxes to serve tailored TV ads from local businesses to specific audiences. That super-narrow targeting represents something nearing a holy grail for television advertisers, even as it raises privacy issues about a company selling TV service tracking what its customers watch. On a post to its online product forum on Friday, Google Fiber said the targeting “allows you to see ads for nearby businesses — like the car dealership downtown or the neighborhood flower shop.” It says it will start “a small trial” in early April.

The program will utilize Google Fiber, the high-speed internet and TV service now available in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, and rolling out in other markets soon. This information gathering may not be a big achievement of Google, but the industry standard Nielsen ratings simply don’t provide that kind of information. As the Google Fiber team points out in its post, the format is the next logical step in the kind of ad offerings you can already get with US cable networks. Variety reports that volume is triple what analysts have estimated the social giant will reel in this year. “Facebook and YouTube will likely be the largest players in online video, providing differentiated offerings with respect to pricing, targeting and engagement,” according to DiClemente.

And YouTube could solve Facebook’s sticky hearability issue with in-feed video ads. “YouTube audiences are more likely to be watching ads with sound, again due to users’ intention of watching video content,” noted DiClemente. Google will use some user information to target the commercials for getting maximum benefit, like what program you’re watching or what programs you’ve watched in the past.

In January last year, UK pay-TV company Sky Plc (LON:SKY), known back then as British Sky Broadcasting Group, launched Sky AdSmart, which allows for different ads to be served up to different Sky households watching the same programme. Another difference, it says, is that just as with digital ads, local businesses will only pay for ads that have been shown, and can limit the number of times an ad is shown to a given TV. The New York Times is shifting resources from every division to mobile as the company struggles to nail down a mobile monetization plan, according to NYT Now editorial chief Clifford Levy. If nothing else, it sounds great for customers and would bring a greater degree of certainty to a space that relies on outdated metrics for its ad revenues. NYT Now is the publisher’s stab at a low-cost, subscription-based app that’s skewed to a slightly younger demographic. “Every division in the company is looking at how they can shift more resources to mobile,” Levy told Ad Age.

The company even hints that ads can be fine-tuned for where you live — for instance, you might see a different local ad during the football game than your friend who lives on the other side of town. It is those ratings however which allow the major TV broadcasters to bring in the revenues they do, so it’s difficult to see them adopting the format.

That’s one reason why … we’re considering other options including whether or not to move toward a free model.” More than 50% of the NYT’s traffic comes from mobile, but the channel only accounts for 10% of the publisher’s digital ad revenue. Traditionally TV advertising has been very profitable for the TV networks, partly because when someone buys an ad, it’s being viewed by a huge audience with many people who may not care about that product or service. During nationally broadcast shows cable companies have long sold advertising time to local small businesses that’s how that silly ad for your local used car dealer makes it onto your TV during the latest episode of your favorite show. In countries where internet services are don’t come bundled with cable TV subscriptions, it’s also possible that it could provide an effective way for streaming services to include ads in their own offerings.

The fact that users can opt out of seeing ads that are based on viewing history from the Fiber TV settings also opens up the possibility of paying slightly more for ad-free content in the future. Advertisers buy most television commercial airtime based on broad assumptions about what type of consumers are drawn to various flavors of programming. On the MoPub platform, video ads are outperforming full-screen interstitials and earned eCPMs 29.5% higher than non-video interstitial during Q4 2014. That’s why pickup trucks are pitched during football games and commercials for fabric softeners appear during “The View.” Google Inc. makes its billions analyzing Internet searches and Web views to tailor online ads to match what consumers appear interested in. Even with modern viewership measuring programs from research companies like Nielsen, there has never been a perfect way for a brand to know how many people saw their ad.

Speaking to The Drum, Yahoo’s head of international marketing, Robert Bridge, shed some light on the company’s search and mobile roadmap post Flurry and BrightRoll acquisitions. The TV industry works off of Nielsen ratings, which pulls viewership data from a relatively tiny cross-section of viewers with meters installed in their homes. But imagine placing ads during such a high-rating event that recognize one viewer spends several hours a week watching kitchen shows and might be a sucker for an ad for knives.

The engagement rate on Tumblr is higher than any social network – it’s 16 minutes per session – which is more than Facebook,” Bridge said. “If you look at Facebook sharing posts in-feed means it has a much more limited shelf life – it disappears as soon as it has gone into the feed. And since Nielsen ratings have proven incredibly resilient over the years despite technological advances, it’s unlikely Google will take over any time soon.

In response, the MAA has called on those UK agencies to begin a strike on April 7. “The MAA takes bad pitch practice and exploitative payment terms extremely seriously,” the group’s managing director, Scott Knox, said in a statement. “AB InBev is behaving disgracefully, forcing agencies to provide them with discounts and financial sweeteners across every possible work stream.” Bloomberg has more. If consumers already trust the company with their most intimate emails and search history, it’s hard to see why they’d mind if Google started tracking their TV habits. [Google via Adweek]

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