Going Beyond the Buzz With Convergence

From planning to attribution

From the early 1700s, when the first property advertisement was circulated in the Boston Newsletter, to the late 90s when AT&T purchased the first ever digital banner ad on Hotwired.com, and now, as advertisers look to engage consumers on myriad devices, reaching key audiences at scale with the right message at the right time has always been central to a marketer’s approach. What’s changed now that consumers are connected to more devices than ever before is the importance of reaching key audiences not only with the right message at the right time, but on the right device and in the right context as well.

As the lines between TV and digital continue to blur, how can we navigate this new path to ensure success for both the industry and the consumer? Many have pointed to convergence as the answer for the future. Perhaps one of the most prevalent buzzwords in advertising today, convergence simply refers to our ability to reach and engage consumers across channels, formats and screens with a consistent message.

So, how do we achieve convergence?

One way to engage consumers consistently in our ever-more-complex media and technology landscape is to unify and automate the planning, activation, measurement and attribution of audience-driven premium video advertising.

Let’s explore how that’s done. 


In today’s automated world, traditional TV buys inclusive of manual RFP submissions and responses are no longer satisfactory. The process of reviewing proposals, selecting relevant inventory and creating entirely separate forecasting models will need to evolve, and in this case, TV can learn a lot from digital. 

TV buyers usually plan campaigns up to a year in advance (though fallout from Covid-19 threatens to change this dynamic, perhaps permanently). However, digital buyers usually plan their campaigns days, weeks and sometimes even hours in advance. Clearly, these are two very different approaches, and also evidence of the underlying nuances of TV and digital supply and demand economics. What’s needed is a platform that can bridge these opposing strategies to provide buyers with a one-stop-shop to consistently design and understand the composition of target segmentation, as well as the ability to forecast factors such as spend, reach and measurement consistently across formats. 

As new platforms provide a more universal view of audiences across channels, media owners also have an important role to play. Digital video publishers need to ensure inventory is of the highest quality, limited in quantity, and consistent with the most engaging, non-interruptive formats. Year after year we see that the price of TV advertising rises, even as viewership declines. Digital publishers can learn from TV’s ability to maintain quality and scarcity, which will accelerate the adoption of cross-channel planning.


TV buying is traditionally a manual, time-intensive process. To bring a converged platform to life and enable sufficient scale, workflow automation is needed. An end to end workflow that consists of planning, negotiation, submission of orders, campaign execution, reporting and verification and when relevant, attribution, can account for this series of manual processes. A converged platform must take these principles and apply them uniformly across linear and digital workflows, ranging from upfront guaranteed to negotiated access to RTB. 


Right now, measurement is possibly the most volatile factor in advertising. This is particularly true in digital — because it is most often bought and sold in real time, it is highly variable and tends to fluctuate. When it comes to TV, inventory is usually bought in a guaranteed fashion, meaning there are fixed prices and impressions bought upfront. Still, discrepancies remain as measurement systems, targeting methods and reporting vary across formats and approaches. A converged platform means unification and deduplication of insights, results and optimization across all media formats.


In a world where advertising must increasingly prove its worth, marketers are looking to demonstrate outcomes and validate return on ad spend. Increasingly, advanced data and technology solutions are applying large volumes of first-party data, in a secure, privacy compliant way, to understand audiences, build segmentation, and measure performance.

Where TV buyers have historically relied on traditional age and gender demographics, a converged platform must be able to define unique audiences and associate ad exposure to real world outcomes or KPIs. As technology progresses, an advanced platform can use these learnings to inform and optimize future campaign design.

Better Together

To make the idea of convergence a reality, collaboration is needed across the entire industry. By working together, we can leverage one another’s strengths to provide trusted and streamlined advertising technology platforms that unite compelling data with premium content, empowering marketers and agencies to deliver intelligent and customized campaigns across all screens and publishers.

Lauren Wetzel is SVP of strategy and corporate development at Xandr. She previously was chief of staff to Xandr’s CEO.