The Programmatic Revolution Will Be Televised

Turn among data ad tech firms pushing adoption

Ad tech firm Turn is about to gauge TV’s appetite and capacity for programmatic ad buying. The Silicon Valley company is testing, with its agency partner SQ1, commercial placements using the same technology it uses to serve video ads online.

“We’re taking the data-driven practices developed in the online world and applying them to TV,” Paul Alfieri, Turn’s svp of global marketing, told Adweek.

Turn works with thousands of brands and agencies on its data platform delivering ads to properties across desktop, social, mobile—and now TV. The Redwood, Calif.-company today is announcing its television ad buying program.

Turn did not reveal which cable providers or what shows and networks would be first to sell commercials this way, but it said it would announce the suppliers in the coming weeks.

The television industry is among the media holdouts yet to fully embrace programmatic as a way to sell commercials, and there are still entrenched resistant forces and technological hurdles in the way. Programmatic can be viewed as a devaluing influence on advertising, and some properties, online and off, are reluctant to sell their most lucrative inventory this way.

However, Turn serves the agencies and brands that are investing heavily in data and targeting capabilities, and they envision a fully programmatic future where there is no difference between placing an ad in a TV show, a social network, a website, on mobile, so long as the commercial reaches the right audience.

Turn actually tried its own campaign last year using programmatic TV buying, delivering commercials for its business during AMC’s Mad Men.

Programmatic flips the traditional TV formula: Instead of using data about shows to find desirable audiences, marketers are using data about audiences to find desirable shows.

“We’re designing audiences and trying to find which TV programs would that audience interact with,” Alfieri said.

The data underpinning the campaigns leads to less waste, he said.

That’s not to say there isn’t more that needs to be done to achieve data parity between TV and online. TV has less developed targeting tools to identify consumers on the individual level, limiting the ability to sell commercials on real-time exchanges, Alfieri said.

Turn runs data management and demand side platforms. Daikin, a manufacturer of air conditioners, will be the first brand to test the programmatic TV buying tools.

“Turn’s programmatic TV solution opens a new channel for us to apply data-driven insights to reach our audience with incredible efficiency,” Rex Anderson, Daikin’s director of communications, said in a statement today.

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