Viant’s updated TV platform knows what you’re watching — and can immediately re-target your mobile devices with the same ad
The people-based ad tech firm has enlarged its automatic content recognition platform to deliver related ads in near-real time to other devices.
You’re watching TV, and a Pepsi commercial interrupts the show you’re watching. You switch the channel, but, within seconds, the same Pepsi commercial shows up on the tablet you’re holding.
That scenario of multidevice campaigns, coordinated with your television program watching, is now available with the latest version of Viant’s TV platform with automatic content recognition (ACR).
Viant is a people-based marketing platform that owns MySpace, was previously purchased by Time Inc. and is now owned by Meredith Corporation, which bought Time earlier this year. Its ACR platform takes data from third-party software that has been installed on TV sets by two leading manufacturers.
CRO Jeff Collins declined to tell me the names of the TV makers, but he indicated the data comes from about 12 million sets in the US, covering about half of the available ACR data.
The software relays info about the IP address of the set, what programs are showing on the screen, what station, when stations are switched, commercials shown and so on. The data is about the programs showing on the TV, whether they come from cable, over the air or over-the-top (OTT) boxes like Roku.
CMO Jon Schultz told me that TV set owners opt in to share their data when they initially set up the TV, as they go through the “unboxing procedure.” When setting up the TV, the viewer is offered a series of choices, such as preferred language or whether closed captions should be turned on.
250 million profiles
One of the setup screens asks, in effect: “Do you want to share data from this set?” Schultz said there is no consequence if a viewer declines and added that it’s “not clear” what percentage of new set owners opt in, since the makers of the set software handle that end.
Viant maintains about 250 million US-based personal profiles, each with a cross-device graph. The named profiles, the set’s IP address and other connecting bits of data, like email address, allow Viant to determine the household and then to connect it to other devices — such as smartphones, laptops and tablets — that reside in the same household.
If the viewer of the TV program is on a device in Viant’s device graph and is on a website, OTT site or mobile app served by a Viant-related ad network or exchange, then the multidevice ad targeting becomes possible.
This newest incarnation of the Viant ACR platform, Collins said, has greater access to OTT inventory than previously, covers about 50 percent more TV sets and has a much lower latency for retargeting. The previous version could retarget a mobile device in response to a program or ad on TV, he said, but it might take a day. Now, it can be done close to real time.
If, say, four family members are watching TV and each has a mobile device, the Viant platform could target all of them if the users were all on sites or apps that show ads from Viant’s ad partners. But Collins noted that the platform allows marketers to manage the frequency of ads shown to a given IP address.
It’s this combination of large-scale ACR data and ad inventory which distinguishes this platform from competitors, Collins said.
When I asked if this ACR platform intends to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires a fine level of granular consent for EU citizens whose data is being captured (even if they are residing in the US), both Collins and Schultz said that Viant intended to comply with all “applicable” regulations.