Do We Have a Bidder? Google TV Ads Wants You1 Dec, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Michael Steib says the nearly two-year-old, auction-based TV media service — through partnerships with DISH Network, Bloomberg and NBC Universal — is coming into its own, providing extensive measurement capabilities to direct response and general advertisers alike.
Steib says the idea of adding a new level of viewer measurement technology appeals everyone in the space. "There is so much unmeasured and under-measured advertising on television," Steib contends. "The original idea was 'Wouldn't it be cool to use set-top boxes to measure advertising at a census level?' Online, advertisers react quickly to measured effectiveness of ads. They are quick to observe response, understand the underlying trends and react. The TV world has not been able to move as quickly, even in DR. If Google could bring those tools for optimization from the Web to TV, creating real-time reporting on clearance, all marketers could benefit."
But how exactly does Google TV Ads — which is touted by the company as "the first digital system for buying, selling, delivering and measuring television ads" — work? Simply, Google TV Ads allows marketers and media buyers to bid for 15-, 30-, 60- and 120-second spots in DISH and Bloomberg's local ad inventories in an online auction. Auctions close the night before a spot is set to air.
Users can launch and manage campaigns through Google TV Ads' online interface, simply selecting which and on how many networks or specific programs they would like to bid for time. "Google TV Ads differs from traditional DRTV in a few key ways," Steib says. "It offers measurement, accountability and — perhaps most importantly — flexibility. Often, DR advertisers are stuck with remnant time in broad rotators. An ad could run anywhere, at anytime. But, as any good marketer knows, it matters where the ad runs — context is very important."
While it can be tough for advertisers to target as specifically on television as they can online, Google TV Ads' goal was to target in a way that scales better than other TV advertising options. "With Google TV Ads, you can target into specific networks and shows that are relevant to your brand," he contends. "It takes targeting down to a granular level."
With Google TV Ads' auction-based pricing system, marketers and media buyers can choose the maximum cost-per-thousand (CPM) impressions they are willing to pay for, and only pay for impressions delivered. This is possible because Google TV Ads measures data from millions of set-top boxes, second-by-second, allowing a clearer picture of the viewership of major and niche cable networks. The pricing method is similar to an eBay auction, in that if you win the spot as the highest bidder, you pay the first displaced bidder's offer, maximizing the value of the spot.
"In a traditional model, once you've picked a specific show, you'd go through a repetitive manual process, with a marketer and buyer calling a seller to see what's available. There's a price negotiation, and then you hope the spots clear," Steib explains. "In our system, an advertiser can go online, set up a campaign, and set up acceptable pricing for these spots. A DR advertiser already knows the acceptable CPO (cost-per-order). The technology does the negotiating."
The Google TV Ads system allows buyers to place bids across all available networks, and its technology can manage a marketer's daily media budget, Steib contends. "There's no more guessing," he adds. "In the system, you could bid on every show we have and set a different rate. You can decide how much to spend per day, and the system will then optimize to your choices."
Steib considers the model a democratization of the TV media buying and selling process. "For many, there has always been some frustration that TV media is not always a level playing field," he says. "Sometimes a marketer might make a better offer for the time, but another marketer's buyer has a better relationship with a network — or some other kind of preference comes into play. Our system is what I'd call much more 'American.' The spot always goes to highest bidder."