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Syncing about the next big thing…

The concept of ad-syncing has been the ‘next big thing for TV’ for over two years. Now, the big players are getting their ducks in a row to ensure the requisite technology is in place to truly realise and harness its power; Sky purchased Videology last year and ITV and RadiumOne linked up with their Ad Sync+ product. So where is this technology going and is it all it’s cracked up to be?

To recap on a previous article we wrote on it, TV ad syncing works like this: Advanced tech will simultaneously monitor hundreds of TV stations, recognising (in a variety of ways depending on the vendor) when your spot is being aired, turning on your digital display ads at the same time (and presumably off again at an appropriate point) to allow the second-screen effect to be maximised.

Ad-syncing technology offers a range of interesting avenues for potential advertisers; whether it be syncing on a second screen simultaneously with a high impacting TV spot to try and convert that view into an action, or to undermine a high impacting competitor’s TV campaign with challenger messaging, or tying in with on-going live events.

All Response Media Viewpoint

At ARM, we are yet to be convinced that ad syncing is an effective route to market for our clients in its current form. As such, we are conducting our own data-led research into the potential workings of such a process, using historical analysis of various display advertising click-through-rates in proximity of TV advertising versus in isolation. While we are seeing some positive results from this, nothing yet to warrant paying any sort of premium for inventory on ad-sync platform. In the meantime, our doubts on the current landscape stem from the following…

Whilst the tech has come a long way it is very much still based on a crude probability rather than an integrated data set. In real terms this means that whilst an advertiser can overlay audience data in the hope of targeting a viewer who has seen their spot, it’s far from an actual science. The technology still pivots on the existence of a TV spot at a point in time, with no input on the real size and significance of that spot or the engagement from it. This is a serious flaw in the technology.

Another challenge is engaging viewers on a second screen who are likely using their device to dis-engage from the advert break. A recent study from Turner Broadcasting and Annalect in partnership with Innerscope showed that sync apps see big drop offs in attention during commercials and that the most effective adverts were in some way integrated into the content of an app.

Unlocking and leveraging this level of interaction is an exciting development that, once fully operational will connect advertisers to consumers in a more seamless and real-time manner. For now, advertisers and agencies are yet to find the true benefits of ad-syncing. Current attempts remain expensive, resource heavy and as such, not yet viable to the majority of our DR advertisers with a customer acquisition focus. With further 1st and 3rd party research to follow over the coming months, we’re endeavouring to find the true tangible and achievable benefits of ad syncing.