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The Four Digital Skills That TV Buyers Need To Master

Marissa Guzzo
Marissa Guzzo
Updated: Nov. 23, 2021
Published: May. 13, 2020

In order to make an effective transition from a purely linear TV buyer to one who is platform-agnostic and can buy video across linear, plus mobile, desktop and OTT, digital marketing consultant Steven Golus recommends mastering four key digital skills: strategy, tracking and measurement, programmatic and brand safety.

Golus, recently recognized by Business Insider alongside our CEO, Dave Morgan, as two of the 23 people shaping the TV advertising industry, helps media professionals and their teams enhance their cross-platform skills and improve performance. In this episode, he shares his best advice for marketers looking to use this time to sharpen their skills. He encourages people to heighten their intellectual curiosity, understand the mechanics of advertising to comprehend the “how,” and speak up in conversations when buzzwords like “programmatic” and “CTV” might mean one thing for someone, and something completely different for others.

Our own Director of Product Marketing Grace Mashore also came on to demonstrate our new interactive tool, Brand Insights, which allows TV advertisers to use software to better understand their reach potential on TV. You can play around with this free tool here.

Here are the audience questions we couldn’t get to in the show that Steven took the time to answer offline:

What is a cookie, what is tagging, what is data collecting and how is this done? Steven: Check out this link which outlines the differences between cookies, tags, and pixels.

Can you please describe the difference between VAST and VPAID tags and if you can track viewability on them? Steven: For a great rundown of the difference between VAST and VPAID, check out this link.

Many brands have adopted a video-holistic approach - and have done so with the mindset of reaching incremental audiences. However, those same buyers/brands have kept a hard stance on long-form versus short form content (regardless of media performance or quality of content). Thoughts on the hard stance of “length of content” as being an important criteria piece of buying - and what audiences could buyers/brands be missing by only buying the same episodic content just in different platform experiences? Steven: I haven't seen any research to quantify the value of long-form vs. short-form on any particular metrics so it's hard to give an answer rooted in anything other than my option. My gut tells me that an audience is an audience is an audience regardless of the length of the content. In fact, I wouild guess there would be a greater impact to brand recall if you reach consumers across different types of video vs. high frequency on one type.

How do you know that your ad is being served to actual people and not bots? Steven: The best way to know is if you work with a fraud prevention vendor such as White Ops, DoubleVerify or Integral Ad Science who specialize in fraud detection and prevention.

How do you measure OTT vs. CTV? Is it considered the same universe? Steven: If you are buying impressions on CTV (which is a subset of OTT) and impressions on mobile and desktop you should be able to measure across devices. Companies like Nielsen and Comscore have relatively sophisticated methods of cross-device measurement. That said, CTV delivery can be measured via technology like ACR as well as standard impression counting, whereas deliver on mobile devices and desktops are typically measured via pixel, cookies and third-party ad servers.

Do you think it's easier for a Direct Response buyer to make the jump to digital in terms of optimizing? Also, do you consider OTT/CTV part of the digital or TV department when it comes to an agency? Steven: DR TV buying and selling have a lot in common with digital in that digital is very focused on driving business outcomes - much like DR TV.

In terms of where digital fits - that question is really dependant on the agency structure, the type of client, etc. Ideally, I believe that all video buying should reside on one team.

Any good sources of websites or other sources of material to look into to increase knowledge? I can imagine there is a lot of sources but just to narrow down the good ones. Steven: Digiday and AdExchanger are the two most reliable consistent sources of digital ad news.