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News Analysis 10 Aug 2020 - 5 min read

GroupM's Finecast cracks universal ID for connected TV; Domino's CMO likes fewer repeat ads, better viewer experience and reach and frequency results

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

Connected TV now accounts for 36% of the online video market, but issues linger around the duplication of campaigns and a better "viewer experience" on catch-up. GroupM’s dedicated TV agency, Finecast, claims it has found the solution, partnering with broadcasters to launch a universal ID it says will lead to less ad annoyance and better optimisation and measurement through a single buying platform for the first time in Australia. Domino's CMO Allan Collins says it's why the pizza chain is in early.

What you need to know:

  • Connected TV (CTV) now accounts for 36% of the $1.6 billion online video market, according to IAB Australia.
  • Over the past year the number of Australians viewing internet content on a TV each day has grown 22%.
  • Despite this growth ad duplication across the major broadcasters’ catch-up platforms remains a problem.
  • GroupM’s specialist TV agency Finecast and Australia’s commercial broadcasters (including SBS) have created a universal ID, a consistent identifier for targeting and measurement across connected TVs.
  • Finecast Australia’s MD Brett Poole says the aim is to provide brands with an accurate and measurable CTV reach and frequency builder.
  • It will also ensure that “overexposure” is capped by having a “stable identifier” on CTV throughout Australia.
  • The ID has been developed using encrypted data sets from each network and will not be combined with other third-party data sources.
  • Media executives have welcomed the product but have questions about the “secret sauce” that ties it together.


A new BVOD solution?

Over the past year, the daily viewing of broadcast video on demand (BVOD) content on smart TVs has jumped 22%, pushing connected TV’s share of the $1.6 billion online video market to 36%, according to a recent study from IAB Australia.

However, consumers and marketers have both struggled with the difficulties surrounding how ad inventory on connected TV (CTV) is managed, in particular, the doubling up of ads during commercial breaks.

While the TV networks have largely solved the issue on mobile and desktop, the problem persists with CTV.

GroupM’s addressable TV business, Finecast, thinks it has found the solution in a universal ID for households across Australia, using data from the major commercial TV networks.

Finecast Australia’s Managing Director, Brett Poole, says the use of these data sets will provide the “most stable” household identifier for CTV.

“If you think about device IDs or IP addresses, these are subject to change and can become inaccurate when creating a household profile, whereas what the networks have through their mandatory sign-ins are verified and personalised accounts,” Poole says.

Poole says one of the big challenges with connected TV is reach and frequency when measuring and optimising campaigns. He attributes this mainly to CTV lacking any real identifiers such as Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) or other device IDs.

“IDFAs and device IDs aren't stable at all on the big screen but remain pretty good when it comes to the small screens, because phone and laptop makers have digital in mind when they when they when they're building these devices,” Poole says.

“TV hasn't come from that background. In fact, it was our UK team that first saw this happening in its markets, where there was no way to simply ensure you were addressing the same person when they would return to view a program on their smart TV.”

Poole says this problem has led to the “overexposure” of advertising campaigns on CTV, which has made it difficult for agencies to develop a “health metric” on any campaign report.

“For a lot of big awareness campaigns, you may not want a huge amount of targeting; you might simply just want know how many households you reached. Without a universal identifier it is very hard to prove that,” Poole says.

“Now with all the broadcasters, in some form, supporting logged-in usage, we’ve got an increasing amount of BVOD that is being [seen with] a unique login.

“Pulling those together we are able to create a disambiguous ID for BVOD that can then provide the household reach number for the first time in Australia.”

Poole argues that agencies and marketers need to remember that the viewing experience of ads is very different on BVOD compared to linear TV.

“In the linear environment, marketers and agencies often schedule a high frequency of ads during key slots in the schedule. This is intentional and done with the purpose of achieving a level of reach,” he says.

“On CTV, the experience is different. It’s not appointment viewing, it’s catch-up, and when someone in that instance is served ads back-to-back, the response can be far different.

“[With] a universal ID, when a user returns to the CTV environment, the catch-up platforms are aware that user has already been served a particular ad, an hour earlier or whenever it may be.”

What's the secret sauce?

Some broadcast executives told Mi3  they were yet to see the final product from Finecast and were still questioning what the "secret sauce" was behind the mash-up of data that underpins its universal ID. They were supportive of Finecast's move although they said progress had been made in the past year or more in limiting advertising over-exposure to viewers.  

ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate said initiatives like this one between the networks and Finecast were ongoing. "Broadcasters working collaboratively with agencies to help advertisers get the best out of today's TV is something we've been doing for years and will continue to," she said.  


Domino's CMO likes

Domino’s CMO Allan Collins is one of the first to use the universal ID. He told Mi3 the Finecast product was "critical" for his brand to be able to measure the effectiveness of CTV campaigns.

The move will also be a major driver behind Domino's investing further in the platform as an extension of linear TV.

"For us, and for most large advertisers, it comes down to the scale of the solution. We are big television advertisers, because reaching a mass audience is important," Collins says. "The collaboration of all the broadcasters in Australia  working with GroupM to bring this tech solution to market means that it has weight." 

"The improvement is clear as it acts across the whole of Connected TV, whether we’re placing ads on Seven’s programming or Ten’s, I can now better control the frequency and measure the reach."

Collins says the brand has been focused on addressing "customer tension points", this includes the number of times ads are delivered to customers.

He said there was a clear need to reduce any frustration with viewing repeats of advertisements customers have already seen. 

"With Finecast, the selling point and main appeal of adopting the ID into our planning was that we would be able to measure reach and  frequency across the BVOD platforms with the best household identifier

"That means our agency team at Wavemaker is able to plan for the right frequency and take a total screen planning approach alongside quality non-skippable content in a household television environment."

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Josh McDonnell

Senior Writer

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