Q&A with John McIntyre, Founder & CEO, Sightly
BIA/Kelsey: John, your company provides targeted, cross-screen video advertising. Video and programmatic targeting are particularly hot right now in the market. So let’s talk about that. We’ve seen this moving from national into local media with increased acceleration lately. Let’s start with the basics, how do you define “programmatic”?
McIntyre: Programmatic buying, in its most simple form, is the automated real-time bidding and purchasing of digital advertising inventory. It is undoubtedly a powerful tool, but a relatively “dumb” one. It’s a “go fetch” mechanism designed to buy digital media at the lowest bid for a broadly defined target audience. But as video reshapes the digital landscape before our eyes, the requirements for programmatic buying are also rapidly evolving. First, a little context… The rise of multi-screen video and the related explosion of online video advertising are well documented. comScore reports that each month, 225 million Americans now watch video online — including some 40 billion video ads.
BIA/Kelsey: Our forecasts show that local online video ad spend will continue to increase by double digits in the coming years. Some of those dollars are new incremental spend, but most of it is shifting from display, print and TV. How does programmatic play in this mix?
McIntyre: If, as the forecasts indicate, video is becoming the preferred digital ad medium, then programmatic must get smarter. We see two keys to unlocking its potential: 1. Buying micro-targeted audiences and optimizing on performance. First, this requires we apply advanced levels of intelligence to segmentation. We need to integrate highly reliable data that allows advanced segmentation beyond demographics, e.g., location, current topical context, device, recent behaviors (search, browsing, purchase, etc.), day part, purchase funnel position, etc. Second, we need to be able to adjust bids and buys based on how audiences respond to ads during campaigns. In other words, we need campaigns to become self-learning and optimize intelligently. 2. Personalizing ad content and seamlessly integrating it with micro-targeted buys Message relevance is becoming the new creative mantra. Producing versions of ads that resonate with viewers in different locations, at different times, with different interests dramatically increases response and engagement. We need to be able personalize ads quickly, affordibly and at scale, then deliver them with the appropriate buys.
BIA/Kelsey: John, you will be speaking at our BIA/Kelsey National conference next month about some of the work you’ve been doing in programmatic at Sightly. Could give us a teaser here of what you’ll be talking about?
McIntyre: Our platform incorporates these technologies today as part of programmatic buys of YouTube TrueView inventory so we’ve already seen its potential first hand. For example, here are a couple success stories featuring campaigns we ran for Wendy’s in which we combined ad personalization with micro-targeting and intelligent optimization to deliver exceptional results that led to an annual commitment for 2015.