These days, every video provider is looking to land ad dollars with a one-two punch of broad but targeted reach for brand awareness, matched with proof of performance — or business outcomes — via addressability or attribution. A+E Networks calls the combo “Precision + Performance.” In this bonus episode of Insider Interviews I thought it was important to get some terminology down for future episodes dealing with the business of television today. So, Ethan Heftman, senior vice president of Precision + Performance took me through the group’s approach to me and also discussed A+E’s first-to-market guarantees to advertisers of some select business outcomes. (The following overview of the conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.)
I asked Heftman for specifics, starting with the way A+E defines attribution. “For us, it’s … tying a media exposure on A+E Networks to a specific business outcome,” he explained. “It’s going beyond simply the discussion of what type of media metric we delivered [like an “impression”] to what type of action or behavior that impression caused. For example, is it fueling a behavior at the top of the funnel — the awareness area — or the middle, the consideration area. Or, is it impacting the bottom of the funnel, a sale or specific outcome type?”
A+E markets its Precision + Performance product as impacting outcomes in each of those three areas, versus just the expected top-of-funnel. Historically, “television hasn’t been properly credited with outcomes in the real action area: driving a web visit, driving a store visit, driving a specific sale,” Heftman said.
Next, Heftman explained A+E’s view of precision and performance. “Precision is our advanced audience targeting tools; that is, through the use of advanced data sets — whether it’s MRI, set-top-box data from an MVPD…, Axiom or Polk data, or first-party data that an advertiser provides us,” he explained. “Performance are the tools that we use to discuss, find, and prove specific outcomes within that purchase funnel. The better job you do of identifying and finding those discreet audience segments, the better job you do of picking dayparts and programs that deliver against them, the better outcomes you will have.”
Sort of like this: If I’m watching Married at First Sight on their Lifetime network — and I’m not saying I do…well maybe I do — A+E is willing to guarantee to the national retailer that advertises in that show and other Lifetime or A+E programming, that by precisely targeting people like me with some fancy data they can show that people like me went into that store or visited the retailer’s site (performance). Guaranteed.
You really should listen to the entire episode for Heftman’s explanations and insights. He also shared the categories that perform well and which platforms A+E can precision target (hint: all) and measure performance across (ditto!): “We’ve always been able to talk about performance outcomes in the digital space, in the OTT space. We believe that the real game-changer is being able to have that conversation in the linear space and then marry that with the existing conversation in digital and over the top.”
A version of this bonus episode of Insider Interviews with E.B. Moss originally posted on MediaVillage 3/5/20.