The root of the network business is drawing a large audience to attract advertisers. As digital video and device fragmentation have disrupted the value proposition of traditional TV, data has become the equalizer.
This is one reason why the ABC Television Network is spearheading an initiative with 4C Insights, a Facebook and Twitter ads partner. The partnership, which ABC revealed Wednesday, is intended to connect social affinity and ad sponsorships.
“We all understand where the business is headed and data will be a huge part of it,” said Adam Gerber, VP of sales development and marketing at ABC Television. “Our recognition is that clients increasingly are going to want to leverage their data to deliver more value to their media investments and I think that’s the underlying principle we’re trying to solve against.”
4C, the result of a merger between social data company Voxsup and social data analysis firm The Echo System, has for several years developed a tool to enhance TV, radio and alternative media buys with social affinity data.
ABC and 4C will jointly roll out a syndicated tool that “goes beyond raw traffic counts and social engagement [actions] such as likes or tweets to determine how much of that activity was high value for the advertiser and [whether] people that were engaged with the show [were also] engaged with the brand.” Gerber said.
The two companies have worked on pilots before to analyze live-event and long-term brand integrations to prove the value of sponsorships bring to advertisers. Although ABC hasn’t shared its findings, the broadcaster “wanted to know how the audience was connecting with various aspects of the programming,” said Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C.
For example, ABC and a large brand sponsor had a long-term partnership. By deploying 4C’s algorithms, ABC saw that, prior to a sponsorship run, there was very little connection between the brand or program. There was also little overlap in engagement or affinity – the likelihood someone would re-engage with a brand unprompted.
Over two weeks, Neuhauser said, engagement with specific shows, content and talent on social mirrored the consumers’ interest in the brand advertiser. This sort of insight is particularly valuable when ABC seeks out new sponsor opportunities.
ABC’s allegiance with 4C is one of its many maneuvers designed to scale up its digital and data-driven acumen. The broadcaster recently brought on a data-driven sales chief and began unlocking programmatic reserve inventory for digital video ad sales.
And although the social beta influences direct sales sponsorships, Gerber said ABC does not isolate these initiatives from its programmatic strategies.
“Over the past 18-24 months, Geri Wang, our president of sales, has made it a mission for us to become much more ingrained in data to understand how it will change our business in the mid-to-long term,” he said. “Our programmatic initiatives are not about direct sales vs. machine buying. That’s not what we’re debating internally or even trying to pursue. … We think if we have a better understanding of the relationship between our talent and shows, viewers and advertisers, everyone wins.”
He added: “At the end of the day, our programmatic initiative is a reserve programmatic initiative where salespeople are still calling on folks at an agency talking about a strategic approach to a buy and discussing how they implement data.”
By: Kelly Liyakasa
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FMx represents the next generation in work flow management for facilities managers and their clients. It was developed to solve the types of important challenges that matter most to facilities managers and is focused on just those issues. It is a much simpler solution than is available from the many legacy systems developed over the years and that have been adapted to the internet. FMx was born of the web and takes advantage of the capability of the many new tools available for training and communication, resulting in a highly effective service for budget minded organizations. When organizations utilize FMx they get better results, happier users, and proud facilities managers.
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“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Lance Neuhauser, CEO at 4C.
It’s an eternal question in a marketer’s life: Should you choose the path of the agency or a specialized point solution?
At the outset, employing a managed services technology solution can be a savvy choice. Any time a new sphere like social media is created, agencies often fail to adopt and master the required technical skills quickly enough. Point solutions specializing in one specific media provide the speed and know-how brands need to dive into cutting-edge technology and gain a competitive edge.
So if a smart decision carried you into a managed services technology relationship, why would it be a smarter decision to ultimately shift back into one with an agency?
And when you make the move, how do you decide which agency best aligns with your revamped needs?
Why Migrate Back?
The answer comes down to boosting efficiency and brand security. Agencies offer what point solutions, by nature, cannot: an integrated solution for buying and planning your media. You want to ensure that your customer isn’t being oversaturated with content and that the brand is represented consistently across all channels. Managing all content in the same house provides large-scale efficiencies that protect your marketing investment. When you work with an agency, you eliminate the disconnect between your brand’s latest communication platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, and your more established offline campaigns.
Perceptive brands recognize the need to move away from point solutions into one cohesive strategy. The same pendulum swing has played out in display and search marketing: Managed services provided one point of expertise until agencies grew more equipped to handle the technology. Today, social marketing is mirroring that process: It’s evolved into a mainstay, crossing the chasm that divides trends from necessary consumer touch points. Brands are beginning to recognize that social channels can no longer be treated in isolation.
To get the most out of your social investment and the sharp understanding of consumer behavior it provides, you need to work with someone who understands all components of your marketing strategy. This approach also brings the added benefit that agencies can take on the heavy lifting of vetting and choosing best-in-breed technologies that they work into their integrated strategy.
Navigate The Switch
Unfortunately, agency and brand motives do not always align. An agency’s main responsibilities are to protect the brand and employ the most strategic solutions. However, agencies are often compensated based on a percentage of media that is put into play, or on a full-time equivalency basis. But delivering better results for the brand? Agencies rarely receive better compensation for better results.
When agencies can’t make more money through results alone and need to reduce costs, they will often choose technologies that make life easier for them – not necessarily for the brand. With this in mind, your responsibility in choosing an agency is to understand not only how they vet their technology, but how they use that technology’s data. As a brand, you need to fully comprehend the benefits of each technology solution provided by the agency. Responsible agencies choose options they have vetted and deemed will benefit the brand in the long run.
As you begin your journey with your agency partner, prioritize the extraction and elevation of cross-channel data. This will be a tremendous source of business intelligence fuel for your overarching strategy. It is important that the agency shares that philosophy or they will struggle to meet this need. Your agency partner has the benefit of working with many clients and brands. Use their experience to help you. Push them to provide analysis and reporting that makes your life easier and helps you keep your mind clearer. Together, you should be able to learn from the stories that are being told by the campaign and audience data.
Win In The Long Run
Historically, attempting to build market-leading strategy expertise and best-in-breed technology simultaneously has been a recipe for inefficiency and mediocrity. It is why the point solutions, over time, must choose one path and why the agencies gain an advantage. As long as your agency adopts technologies that conform to their need to execute tasks quickly – but also choose those tools that can deliver media in a way that maximizes results for your brand – you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, moving to an agency-based relationship aligns with the principle that brands do best when oriented around consumer behavior. Consumers do not have channel conflict, just channel choice; the overlap in behavior with social media and television is but one example. Keeping your social point solution separate from all your marketing communication touch points blocks the opportunity to analyze how the consumer is interacting and how you can combine data from all channels to improve engagement. Use social as an integrated business intelligence fuel and you’ll maximize results from your marketing dollars.
More than 400 million people speak Spanish in North America alone! As PrivIT e-PPE continues to be adopted throughout the United States, it made sense to include Latin American Spanish to better service clients. The other language preference currently offered is French Canadian.
The media giant Comcast is set to grow it’s empire once again. Only three years after the acquisition of NBC Universal, a deal has been announced to merge Comcast with regional cable and telecom provider Time Warner Cable. Valued at just over $45 billion, the merger would make Comcast the largest cable and internet provider in the United States. Over 32 million Internet service customers across the country would be part of the new company – which translates to just under 30% of the marketplace.
While the Comcast purchase of NBC Universal pushed the company further into the entertainment and distribution realms, this deal has a much more immediate impact on business owners and telecom customers across the country. The good news that comes out of this is a commitment to improve current telecommunications infrastructure as a result of the merger. If all promises are kept, this would result in a faster, more reliable experience for both business and residential consumers. Additionally, Comcast would be bound to a previous agreement forcing the telecom giant to offer Internet access as a standalone product, and treat all Internet traffic the same – be it for voice, data, or streaming video.
All of those promises and agreements are good news for the customer. And while those are good, many consumer advocate groups are warning of the dangers this merger could create. For instance, with the decrease in competition comes the threat of rising prices. Executives at Comcast told reporters during a press conference that they don’t see the price of internet service going down in the future. And considering that Comcast already has a significant hold on many entertainment holdings, content control and pricing are both of concern to many advocates as this process continues.
So what does this mean for your business and your telecom infrastructure? While the Comcast-Time Warner deal isn’t set to close until the end of 2014, now is a good time to consider what your infrastructure needs will be in the future. It’s never too early to audit the level of service you have now, and weigh that against future demands in order to budget for additional costs. By keeping ahead of the situation, you can ultimately put your company in a position to save money with a higher level of service in the future.
Despite an ever changing landscape, having the best information is invaluable to weathering new situations. As the Comcast-Time Warner merger proceeds, we’ll continue to monitor the situation, and provide our partners with the best solutions for their needs.
With the upfront advertising market approaching, a research company working with Facebook is releasing a study showing how data from the giant social networking site can be used to more effectively target and buy television commercials.
The analysis of public Facebook data by 4C, which has been applying computations science to big data for 20 years, found connections between the brands people interact with and the shows they watch. Some of those connections confirmed long-held media-buying practices, such as beer companies advertising in sports, but others yielded surprising new connections.
Social media companies Facebook and Twitter have been jockeying to form closer ties with the TV business, in part to get closer to big spending TV advertisers and broadcast buyers. Both companies are looking to build their advertising businesses, which will be increasingly video oriented, which could make them competitors for TV ad dollars, as well as digital ad spending
The new study also shows new ways in which advertising on TV and Facebook can more effectively work together.
Facebook and 4C say the data is useful to brands, media buyers and television programmers.
“4C is currently working with several television networks that see tremendous value in analyzing public social data to inform their program positioning and brand partnership opportunities,” said Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C. “One of the major networks has made educated choices about what viewers want to see and is using our affinity-based insights to inform their efforts for the upcoming upfront process.”
4C has also been working with divisions of agency holding company Publicis Groupe. “We’ve been impressed with how 4C integrates data and insights into their social advertising platform, and are looking forward to seeing how they will utilize their expertise in data science for cross channel opportunities,” said Lisa Weinstein, president, global digital, data and analytics, Starcom MediaVest Group.
“We’re talking about a major milestone,” said Rob Creekmore, advertising research manger, marketing science, at Facebook. “For the first time TV media planners can use 4C’s analysis and public Facebook data to plan TV and Facebook media together.” Better data on how social campaigns interact with TV could lead to more spending on Facebook ads.
The study analyzed 150 brands in five major categories and more than 800 programs on 14 broadcast and cable networks, seeking affinities between them.
For a beer brand, the study found high brand affinity for sports, including ESPN’s SportsCenter and Monday Night Football.
If the beer brand were negotiating with NBC, it would be looking to buy more Sunday Night Football. In talks with Comedy Central, the beer maker would want to heavy up on series including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Colbert Report. Other shows scoring high with lovers of this brand of beer included TBS’Men at Work, ESPN’s SportsNation and First Take, Seinfeld on TBS, Boondocks on Adult Swim and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The study found that the genre of programming that had the highest affiliation with financial services advertising was reality. For example, Chase’s Sapphire credit card matched up with Bravo’s Real Housewivesfranchise. Other offbeat matches between products and the shows with the highest affinity for them included Barbie and Saturday Night Live, Microsoft and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Hot Pockets and the NBC’sSunday Night Football.
“We see the research as truly actionable,” said Neuhauser. “Too many folks see Facebook as just an activation channel. Because of the nature of social, we actually believe it can be one of the most powerful business intelligence tools that has ever come into the market.”
“In the past, many brands have had a hard time accessing and understanding behavioral data. But now our clients are able to use Facebook behavior to understand how consumers think and why they choose one brand over another,” Neuhauser said. “By making informed decisions about their Facebook and television advertising, these companies can appeal to both their current and prospective audiences and intensify their marketing power.”
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has announced the approval to allow its member high schools to use the PrivIT e-PPE (electronic Pre-Participation Evaluation) solution to replace the current paper-based PPE process used for interscholastic sports. PrivIT, a Columbus, Ohio, based company, transformed the process for the management and collection of physical forms required for participation in high school sports.
“As the governing body for high school athletic programs, the GHSA provides standards for participation in interscholastic sports throughout the state. The GHSA State Officers are excited to offer our high school members the PrivIT e-PPE solution designed to enhance the sport pre-participation process as an option to the paper-based process,” said Ralph Swearngin, Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association.
Migrating the paper PPE process to the PrivIT e-PPE solution gives parents the flexibility to keep their child’s health information current, and since the information is only entered once, updating the information in the future is as simple as clicking a few buttons. PrivIT e-PPE will help high schools better facilitate the process of collecting personal health history information from athletes and save time and costs associated with managing the paper process.
PrivIT e-PPE is a patented and secure solution that includes a more comprehensive health history questionnaire that is easy to use and helps mitigate health risks related to sports. The reports generated by PrivIT e-PPE provide a detailed summary of an athlete’s health history and readily identifies health risk areas to support the physical exam. Taking the paper-based process and transitioning it online will provide athletic trainers and coaches more time to focus on the nearly 193,000 Georgia student-athletes.
“It is an exciting time for interscholastic sports, as we continue to adapt and grow in a digital world. By implementing PrivIT e-PPE, we look forward to enhancing the health and safety of our student athletes, and to providing a modern standard for the pre-participation process,” said Gary Phillips, Assistant Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association.
“Being a leader in sports health, we are looking forward to fostering a long-term relationship with the GHSA,” said Jeffrey Sopp, CEO of PrivIT. “Being able to provide Georgia high schools with a solution for improving processes that result in protecting the health and safety of student-athletes is rewarding.”
Randall Wroble, MD, is Chair of the Joint Advisory Committee on Sports Medicine for the Ohio High School Athletic Association and a sports medicine physician from OhioHealth. Dr. Wroble agrees one of the most critical aspects of the PPE is the history portion. The PrivIT e-PPE solution will allow parents to complete a thorough medical history based on nationally-endorsed standards. Regardless of where a student has their physical done, they will bring the printed PrivIT e-PPE personal health history summary that is legible and highlights health risk areas related to the student athlete, providing the physician an opportunity to perform a more focused exam.
A wide-open market and devotion to a quality product have set the owners of Hilliard-based Raw Real and Wonderful LLC on a fast track they never dreamed of only two years ago.
Specializing in dehydrated snacks, the company uses mostly organic and raw ingredients that are dehydrated at a low temperature to preserve as many nutrients and enzymes as possible. With a focus on vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients, the idea is that customers can have a solid idea of what they’re putting in their bodies.
“We had both worked for Frito-Lay years ago, so we had known each other from back when, and we both understood the best-of-the-best of the snack food industry,” Zody said. “Tricia had started on a raw food diet, and she kept telling me how great she was feeling and how much energy she had. When I tried the snacks she was making, I was amazed.”
Although neither had thought of starting a business, Zody said the possibility for Raw Real and Wonderful became clear after they taste-tested Caldwell’s creations with a group of local moms.
“They absolutely loved it, and their kids even loved it,” Zody said. “So we moved ahead and reached out to the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, because we thought, ‘Who better than this community that really embraces health?’ And they let us start in their market. It wasn’t long at all and people were going crazy for what we were selling.”
Zody and Caldwell labored in their home kitchens, making snacks to sell at the farmers’ market that included nut bars, macaroons, crackers and granola. The product moved so well that last summer they were able to branch out, selling snacks at farmers’ markets in Hilliard, Dublin, Worthington and New Albany.
“We were running ourselves ragged – we were there five days a week,” Zody said. “At that point we knew without a shadow of a doubt that people liked our product, and would buy it not only at farmers’ markets, but at the grocery store as well.”
Raw Real and Wonderful snacks debuted at Whole Foods Market’s Dublin location, and soon were available in all six Whole Foods locations throughout Ohio.
“Since we were initially selling from our homes, we were only able to sell within the state,” Zody said. “But other locations wanted to purchase our product, so we took a leap of faith and opened our little raw kitchen, and were able to sell to the rest of the country.”
Since production moved into a small office park in Hilliard, Raw snacks have been picked up by 33 Whole Foods stores nationwide, along with numerous independent natural foods stores and co-ops. Expanding allowed Raw to increase sales by 30 percent in less than a year – from $10,000 per month via the farmers’ markets last summer to current sales of $30,000 a month, Zody said.
Upper Arlington Whole Foods store Manager Jessie Starman, who was the bulk buyer at the Dublin location when Raw first was offered there, said the product showed up at an opportune time.
“It was the first local, raw product that I had seen, and raw foods were becoming a growing trend with our customer base,” Starman said. “The potential was a wonderful perspective. It’s been about two years now, and I’d say that I’ve really noticed an increase in demand for (raw foods). It was always there – a customer here and there would ask for it – but in the past two years it’s been an ever-growing trend.”
Starman said it seems local demand will plateau occasionally, but some new buzz always comes along and keeps the demand growing.
“Angela and Tricia have been very supportive in their demonstrations, and the customers are very receptive to that,” she said. “I think customers are starting to educate themselves and becoming more health conscious. There’s been media coverage on kale chips and raw foods in general that’s stirred the movement.”
Columbus-based Purely Simple Raw founder Jennifer Mrkobrad, who provides personal consulting and offers classes on a raw vegan diet, said people from all walks of life are being drawn to raw foods.
“Here you’re seeing people who have had a household crisis and are wanting to revamp their nutrition, and also those with the foodie mentality, who love preparing food but don’t want it to be heavy. They want their food to be healthy,” Mrkobrad said.
A vegetarian for nearly her entire life, Mrkobrad said she still experienced a notable difference in her health after she switched to a raw diet.
“I couldn’t believe the difference in energy,” she said. “For some it’s a good option for weight loss, but it’s also a great way to maintain a healthy weight. Just the benefits to skin clarity, overall health – it seems everything functions a lot better.”
The market for raw foods spans a wide range, Starman said.
“From people that are in their older years, to moms trying to feed healthy foods to their kids, to the younger generation that’s more athletic and health conscious,” she said.
Zody said the friendly nature of other producers in the raw foods industry was a welcome surprise, and a stark change from the larger consumer packaged goods industry.
“(That industry) was so competitive and cut-throat,” she said. “In this industry I feel like I can get on the phone and call any of these national brands, and they’re more than willing to help us – because their goal is making people healthier and giving them a choice. It’s not that they’re not competitive, it’s the fact that they welcome small guys like us to grow this category, because it’s not yet saturated. Ask the same question in 10 years and I don’t know what the answer will be, but it’s a very different group.”
As the raw food industry becomes more recognized in the mainstream market, Zody said Raw hopes to capitalize on the trend. Plans are in the works for acquiring non-GMO certification – Whole Foods Marketplans to eliminate all genetically modified produce and processed foods by 2018 – gluten-free certification and organic certification.
“Three years from now, it’s our hope to be national, to be in every state,” Zody said. “We’re getting more aggressive with looking at national brokers, and we’re also looking at people who can distribute for us. The ultimate goal is to have our products in conventional stores as well, because everyone should have an opportunity to eat good, high-quality food.”