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TV-synced advertising 101: Bridging the TV and online worlds

4C Group
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Create DateNovember 3, 2015
Last UpdatedNovember 3, 2015
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TV advertising has always been an incredibly powerful medium to reach large audiences, especially during prime time. However, the rise in channel count and the advent of devices used to access the Internet has transformed the way we consume TV. It has moved from a linear experience that brought the household together to a more personalized experience delivered to connect screens separated from the TV. This raises questions as to the effectiveness of traditional broadcast advertising in a multiscreen world, in which brands and agencies still need to ensure that their commercials reach the right audience on the right screen at the right time while still reaching large audience numbers.


TV has undergone tremendous changes since the turn of the century, blending TV and IP represented the first step in enabling connectivity to pervade consumers’ everyday lives, and connected devices such as smartphones and tablets have closed the loop by allowing users to watch video content on any platform. Viewers are also harnessing connectivity to combine the social experience with TV consumption.  While watching primetime TV and commercials, 71% visit a social media platform during the commercial and 64% visit a social media platform during the TV show (Facebook, “From One Screen to Five: The New Way We Watch TV” conducted by Millward Brown 2014). In a world where content sources and devices keep increasing, it becomes difficult to predict the viewability of a TV advert as viewers switch between TV and online.

While the rise of these devices seems to have created new challenges for brands and agencies in terms of reach with consumers becoming harder to pin down, the web has also opened the door to better targeting and more granular consumer data. Social media has further increased the amount of data that consumers are willing to share, enabling brands to use these channels to better understand their target audiences. Advertisers have creatively harnessed the power of technology and, for a few years now, have been looking into the potential of the second screen to better reach the right consumer on the right screen without having to forego TV and its reach.

In 2013, an answer to this dilemma emerged with TV synced advertising, which utilizes real—time content recognition technology to decipher the content being played on TV, and combines this with built-in targeting and Real-Time Bidding (RTB) capabilities. This new solution leverages the reach of TV and the granular metrics and click-to-purchase potential of the online and social worlds to deliver advertisements on the second screen in real-time.


TV Synced Ads powered by Teletrax can identify TV programs and commercials within seconds of broadcast and trigger digital campaigns for synchronization and/or competitive response. These ads can be delivered through social, video, display, and search channels across phone, desktop, and tablet devices for truly integrated marketing. This enables advertisers to reach the right people, with the right content, at the right place and time. Additionally, through 4C’s Social Ads Product, marketers can leverage targeting based on predictive data science, capitalize on pre-optimized, custom audience segments and manage complex campaigns with simplicity through bulk editing, smart groups and auto-optimization tools.


The solution is based on “fingerprinting”, a technology enabling an aired TV commercial or piece of content to be matched with a global TV channel database followed by automated call to action. Using a content database, the network detects that a particular ad or piece of content is on air, allowing the synchronisation technology to automatically target users watching TV while browsing the web. Inventory is made available in a dedicated marketplace in order to allow brands and agencies to buy premium slots in real-time and ensure that their online advertising is aligned with a broadcast campaign. This allows media buyers to acquire digital impressions at the best price while ensuring that their ads will be viewed on both screens.


Previous campaigns have demonstrated that consumers are very receptive to TV-synced advertising, with unprecedented lifts in Click-Through Rates (CTR) on social media. TV-synced advertisements combining Facebook and TV have seen a 60% uplift in consumer clicks compared to a Facebook-only adverts, and up to 250% on Twitter.


These techniques allow advertisers to target consumers that can purchase goods and services when they see an advertisement via a connected device. TV-synced advertising provides an immediate solution to bridge the gap between the broadcast and online worlds by ensuring that brands and agencies can create multi-platform ad campaigns. By utilizing TV-synced advertising solutions, brands and agencies can create data-driven cross-screen advertising campaigns that adapt to their target audience.


Data provides advertisers with consumer understanding, ensuring that the right message reaches the right screen, at the right time, regardless of viewing habits and the device in use. Media buyers can streamline their purchases while ensuring that they only acquire the best impressions, increasing return on investment for brands. In the near future, we expect creative teams to design advertising campaigns that leverage each screen and social feed to offer promotions or expand the narrative out of home in order to offer new immersive advertising experiences that are relevant to each audience member’s activity and location in real-time.


By Andy Nobbs, SVP Global TV Analytics Sales & EMEA Activation, 4C

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