Convergence And Automation: The Future Of Ad Management

By Will Offeman, Chief Product Officer, WideOrbit

The advertising industry has gone through many transformations as technology evolves, especially when it comes to television. One of the most significant changes is the shift from a single spot broadcast over-the-air, with an extensive reach, to integrated campaigns that include digitally delivered, addressable ads. This trend is happening in parallel with a push toward automating traditional processes and workflows in an effort to make buying and selling easier for all ad types, for both advertisers and broadcasters.

Both convergence and automation are integral to the future of ad management and sales. Let’s take a look at why.

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The advancement of convergence

For years, there has been talk of digital and linear convergence in content and ad sales. Digital-linear convergence means that linear and digital inventory and ad sales are managed within the same systems, using the same workflows. The term ‘linear’ is often used to refer specifically to over-the-air, broadcast media, but this can be misleading since linear programming can also be digitally delivered.

In addition to managing digital and linear inventory and ad sales within the same system, convergence allows broadcasters to offer package deals that provide advertisers the best of both worlds. Advertisers and agencies are eager to build integrated campaigns, and convergence makes it easy for broadcasters to offer exactly that. 

The recent growth in digital media and the revenue opportunity that growth represents have added a sense of urgency to the conversation around convergence. An advertisers’ goal is to quickly reach consumers no matter how or where they’re consuming content, which is why convergence is now so critical to their mission. Imagine if some viewers stopped watching the live broadcast of a particular program because they preferred to stream it online or download a podcast instead. Some advertisers will stick with buying over-the-air ads, depending on audience demographics, while others will want the on-demand or digital stream. But a rising number will want to buy both, and convergence makes that possible.

The goal of convergence is to create a seamless experience for advertisers to purchase the inventory types they want while also simplifying the process for media organizations to manage and sell that inventory. This requires technical infrastructure, including advertising management software, that can manage, sell, execute, and report on both types of inventory in parallel, using impressions as the common currency.

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The more automation, the better

Automation will also continue to contribute significantly to the future of TV ad management, as it has already become essential for any broadcaster who hopes to remain competitive. Although 95% of ad sales are completed manually, according to eMarketer, platforms like WideOrbit take a holistic approach to manage TV ad inventory, automating manual processes even while incorporating programmatic transactions. Essentially, ad tech companies should be looking to use automation to streamline the entire process, from pre-buy to post-buy and everything in between, including proposals and payment processing. 

Reducing seemingly minor friction points in traditional workflows might seem like a small accomplishment, but it is central in optimizing the entire ad selling environment. Pain points in conventional ad management should be addressed with automation wherever possible. Media companies will realize significant benefits by placing a concentrated investment in automated buying and selling. 

A couple of ways automation can simplify ad management include:

  • Automating the import of aggregated Electronic Material Instructions from buy-side systems and agencies eliminates the need to re-key instructions multiple times 
  • Auto-ingestion of creative materials into the traffic system saves time and reduces data errors by eliminating the need to manually key in items
  • Automating order validation at the point of order entry ensures that all orders meet established, broadcaster-defined business rules before the spot airs

A streamlined workflow from end-to-end, with less chair-swivel between applications, ultimately saves broadcasters both time and money while making advertisers’ lives much more manageable.

The TV ad buying and selling experience is not what it used to be, and it will undoubtedly see more change in the near future. Broadcasters and advertisers alike should embrace innovative ways to streamline ad sales and management processes for both linear and digital. 

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