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Automation with Human-ization

By Brendan Condon, President of AdMore
November 01, 2017

Seventy years ago, the New York Yankees hosted the Brooklyn Dodgers with the World Series title on the line. It was the first World Series – ever – to be streamed live. And yet it predated the modern Internet by about 40 years.

Today, MLB fans can see those same Dodgers via digital antennas, cable or satellite or IPTV subscriptions, Foxsportsgo.com or the Fox Sports Go app, MLB.TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox, Sling, PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live, YouTube TV or two cans tied together with a piece of digital string.

The many means of admission may have changed, but linear TV is still the original “streaming” media.

When we first began AdMore nearly five years ago, our goal was to create an automated advertising platform with the unique power to harness the very best attributes of tried-and-true linear TV (including the myriad of local broadcast stations) and marry it to the ease, utility and transparency of emerging digital technologies.

We wanted to teach the old dog of linear TV all of the new digital tricks, so agencies and their clients who’d relied for decades upon the unparalleled scale and immediate reach of linear TV could continue to leverage that power as a central component to more targeted digital, mobile and other integrated cross-platform campaigns.

Linear TV still possesses all of the enormous advantages it’s always had, but I would argue that you must define and approach linear TV in a far different fashion.

Today, you must be involved everywhere – in every network and every station – at any time, because that’s how consumers are participating. But covering that vast waterfront presents such an enormous challenge that it seems virtually impossible for any agency, no matter how hands-on or attentive, to even attempt such wide-scale planning, buying or actual delivery. You just can’t do it well enough on any person-to-person basis or even a person-to-machine basis. Can’t happen. Won’t happen.

The challenge to obtaining the best returns from linear TV today is similar to the lone fisherman confronted by a huge body of water. That massive lake contains a helluva lot of fish, but you can’t afford to rent a boat and troll back and forth, back and forth, through the entire night and day, trying to land them. Back in the day, you may have “fished” the Big Three primetime schedules with a single rod and been sure to get a lot of bites. But today, you better have state-of-the-art sonar, real-time data monitoring, and immediate communications feedback to fish where the fish are. Otherwise, you’ll invest a whole lot of time and resources and still come up empty.

It’s no longer reliable (or even conceivable) to throw buckets of money at the major networks to ensure a premium seat within any “Must-See TV” lineup because people don’t watch “schedules” anymore, or “networks” anymore, or in many cases, even “shows” anymore. “Must-See TV” is just a worn-out industry euphemism meant to cover for an antiquated delivery system that consumers no longer agree to accept. It’s not what’s “on” TV anymore so much as what’s “in” it. And that also all depends upon how you begin to even define “TV” as a specific device.

“Viewers” today are increasing; frustratingly more fragmented, and won’t allow themselves to be confined to any designated viewing times or reception and display technologies, as well as artificial “boundaries” determined by network-or-OTT-specific distribution rights. They are instead moving seamlessly between multiple viewing devices or program services and subscriptions, watching, interacting with the same content in deeper, more meaningful, more creative ways. And that liberation is leading to far greater aggregate consumption – and consumer appreciation – of linear TV – the original “streaming media” – because it’s a far better medium for meeting their needs rather than perpetuating decades upon decades of constantly imposing its own demands on them.

When it comes to advertising within digital, mobile and even social, much of the decision-making is typically “rules-based,” meaning a bloodless computer takes data and priorities and algorithms and manages “the business” accordingly. It’s how some ads wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time, creating brand embarrassment or undeserved backlash. Automation without human supervision can lead to unintended consequences.

Within the linear TV landscape, advertising decisions are more defined by the editorial environment, and it typically takes a far deeper person-to-person interaction to assess sponsorships and product placement and other more “creative” decisions. In the digital and social marketplace, binary decisions are constantly occurring. In the linear television space, it’s three-dimensional. It’s not just black and white or ones and zeros.

Today, we’re celebrating a new relationship between AdMore and Mediaocean that promises to provide more agencies the capability to define and approach this new form of linear TV in some exciting new ways, enabling agencies and media buyers to tap into any station, any network, any program, all at the same time.

Mediaocean has done a tremendous job updating the way agencies plan and buy and place media—streamlining and automating transactions that used to be incredibly manually intensive. Not long ago, most agencies had their own internal systems, but when bloated infrastructure cost began costing agencies top clients, they streamlined their back office, labor-intensive functions and re-dedicated staff toward more client-facing responsibilities. Now, all of those creative assets that agencies receive from third-party vendors or create themselves, all of the media planning and buying, all of the thousands upon thousands of invoices received and billings made are standardized and simplified.

The new partnership marks the beginning of AdMore tapping into those same internal workflow systems, adding our own automation technologies, and overlaying them all with critical relationship-based decision-making. Specifically, AdMore’s integration within Mediaocean’s media management platform, Spectra, allows agencies to purchase an “unwired” network through Mediaocean’s national, traditional media workflow. Additionally, agencies can access AdMore-delivered, audience-based, targeted media while using advanced TV technologies, reporting, and measurement. The partnership provides Mediaocean enviable roster of clients and all of AdMore’s advertisers, a complete automated line, while still preserving the “human factor” in important advertising decisions and delivery.

Mediaocean takes care of inside of the agency, and we help to automate the external media output. When you marry those two, you have the full equation. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to recognize because, like the blind men and the elephant, you only see one component at a time, but you really can teach this valuable “old” dog some exciting new tricks.