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Closing the UX gap in linear television buying: from reporting to intelligence

Jordon Froese Nov 3, 2020 4:05:38 PM
UX in linear tv buying

There is a user-experience (UX) gap when we look at digital and linear television buying in Canada. Digital UX offers immediacy and visualization whereas TV reports typically take time to receive and are not in an easily presentable format. A result of this gap is that advertisers have increasingly migrated spend to digital campaigns, despite data that shows the increased effectiveness of TV across both the short and long term compared to purely digital platforms.

With linear TV, gathering and associating the required data has been a problem for many years. Traffic systems in Canada have not evolved significantly in the past few decades and are still, essentially, content delivery systems. Digital systems, on the other hand, originated with a view of 1:1 content delivery and a focus on behavioral data. They have also advanced dramatically over the past decade.

As digital tactics mature, we strongly believe that this is the time where innovation in linear TV UX can drive revenue growth. By closing the UX gap, advertisers will be able to see broadcast and digital on a more even playing field and make better decisions.

In order to achieve this, broadcasters need to focus on four things: metadata, aggregation, visual context, and immediacy of information.


1. Get the metadata connections sorted.

Too often we see individuals and organizations make decisions based on questions they’ve asked from data sets that were flawed or simply didn’t have the answer. For example, COVID-19’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) has received some scrutiny. The rate is a ratio of confirmed deaths and confirmed cases. The problem is accuracy of those two data points as pointed out in Forbes’ September 2020 article: “Since the number of cases is grossly undercounted, the mortality rate is significantly overstated.” To use the cliché, garbage in = garbage out.

A key aspect of getting data right is getting the metadata right, because the questions you ask of data are dependent on how the metadata is structured and defined. The metadata determines the rules of the game, more specifically, how the data is grouped and what can and cannot be connected. Without knowing how it is structured, you risk making bad or misleading decisions by asking the wrong questions or questions that the data can’t really answer.


2. Aggregation: how do you want to slice and dice your data?

Data aggregation is the process of collecting data and summarizing it in a presentable way that users can more easily analyze. Take Google Analytics for example, they pull in website, social, search traffic and more and present it in a way that virtually anyone can understand and gain insights from. This is a key opportunity for broadcasters in improving the TV buying user experience.

Assuming you’ve figured out the metadata relationships needed to achieve the correct level of granularity, the next step is creating a flexible framework for aggregating the data. In order to answer the questions typically asked by advertisers, agencies and broadcasters, you’ll need to aggregate the data in the following ways: by channel, by spot, by date range, by brand, by advertiser, or any combination of these. It’s at this point that you will start to uncover insights.

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3. Visual context

The first two items are ’back-end’ items. They will help with the eventual visualization but you can’t see them in action. To bring the data to life, front-end work is required. Again, picture Google Analytics or other digital platform analysis dashboards that easily allow you to toggle between days, months and years of data comparing sources, devices and other changes in activity. There is flexibility, customization, and built-in charts.

The TV buying experience can replicate this in many ways. Imagine a platform that lets you see your campaign performing in real time, lets you pull weekly impressions of your latest TV ad by different audiences and compare it across channels, stations and times of day. Take it a step further and combine that with your digital campaign to drive insights around attribution and sales. This additional visualization and flexibility will not only put broadcast on the same playing field as digital but also help companies react quicker and make better decisions.


4. Immediacy of information

The final element to improving TV buying UX is ensuring that the infrastructure of the above three areas is stable, secure and able to facilitate quick and easy access to results. Thinking of the 3V’s of data - volume, velocity and variety - this area focuses on the velocity. There is no tolerance for waiting anymore. Decisions are made in real-time so the data needs to be available in milliseconds.

In combination, these four elements will help reinforce the value of TV as a medium. Reporting will evolve into intelligence and insights will evolve into action. Broadcast can level the UX playing field with digital and start reasserting itself to gain share.

At NLogic, we want to help close the broadcast UX gap. Together with our expertise in the Canadian media industry and our audience data API we are working to help improve the TV buying user experience.


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