CES Brings Focus on Data for Advertisers

Most of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) press takes place on the show floor, where the gadgets are displayed in flashy booths. But the real news at CES takes place in the meetings on the sidelines, in hotel suites where there’s far less flash and hype.

It was in those meetings where data emerged as a key theme. Gadgets are cool, and certainly there was plenty of talk about wearables, virtual reality, connected cars, and so on. But with brands and marketing concerns playing a bigger role at CES, media companies attending the event are more concerned with what data they can collect from these devices than the bells and whistles they boast.

Without data, advertisers can’t monetize the content they distribute across devices. Data is the keystone of programmatic ad exchanges. Data informs ad targeting efforts. Data plays a key role in the creative process of the ads that are developed.

So as data becomes a key priority in 2015 for the video ad and distribution industry, here are a few points to consider that emerged during CES side meetings:

Aggregation and Reporting

Collecting the vast amounts of data is a huge challenge in itself – but once collected, all this data needs to be aggregated into an easy-to-use dashboard where it can be accessed, sliced, and diced by our partners. Different questions require different data points, so giving advertisers the ability to pick and chose the relevant parameters for the question of the moment is essential for any data program to succeed.

Migration

The “Holy Grail” of ad-data is the ability to monitor engagement across devices — mobile, tablet, TV, wearables, and so on — to more effectively target ads to users as they migrate between their consumer electronic ecosystem. Only a handful of companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix have been able to offer this type of cross-screen targeting well, but we expect that to grow rapidly.

Action

Finally, there’s the issue of tying all this into a platform that advertisers can engage with, from delivering a properly formatted ad for the device in question to more advanced capabilities like pushing discount alerts to the right device used by the right individual near the right location.

This is not without its challenges. As the CES show so clearly illustrated, the number of connected devices to which video can be distributed is growing. The “Internet of Things” is rapidly growing. Much of that discussion revolves around more functional data like sharing home status metrics or information alerts. But entertainment is a rapidly growing sub-set.

Compounding that is the vast variety of data that must be collected across these devices. User action data, such as what was watched, bought, or shared. User location data, such as where these actions took place, and what were the actions of other users in that same location. User-specific data, such as age, gender, and so on.

But these are not insurmountable challenges, and given the focus and excitement given to them during CES, I expect to see great strides in this area in the year ahead.

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