Cannes Lions 2016: Programmatic is a Problem- They Break the User-Experience

by: Navjot Singh on 22 June 2016

Freewheels’s European Managing Director, Thomas Bremond, Meets 12ahead At Cannes And Explains How Agencies And Media Corporations Can Better Make Use Of Data Insights

"The user-experience with programmatic ads is broken and it needs to be fixed"

Data is a big trend that we are seeing more and more at the moment and the usage of data, and how to effectively measure and optimize it for the best ROI is a key part of what companies are looking to invest their sources in. 12ahead had the chance to catch up with Thomas Bremond, Managing Director of Freewheel at the Cannes Lions 2016 Festival of Creativity. A subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, New York-based Freewheel are in Cannes to educate marketers and agencies on how to avoid the problem of having inefficient placement of automated programmatic ads around premium videos (which is very confusing for consumers). The situation is effectively having a negative effect for both sellers and buyers, according to Thomas.

One of Freewheel’s main clients is the UK TV station, Channel 4, and Thomas gave an example case study of how they assist companies such as Channel 4 to leverage data.

“Channel 4 and their platform, All 4, basically accesses all of Channels 4's content across multiple platforms. They have collected about 30 million profiles, which is roughly half of the 18-35 age-group population of the UK. When they came to us they wanted to make use of this data to target audiences in a better fashion so that they could increase the efficiency of their campaigns.”, Said Thomas.

He went on explain further: “Two examples that you may be familiar with. On Channel 4’s All 4 platform they collect a bit of information on a particular user, and we have use that data to create targeted campaigns for companies such as Burberry and Coca-Cola for example, where we deliver creative tailored to the user. For Burberry in particular, as you are entering your login profile into All 4, you would see a Burberry perfume with your initials on it appear on your screen of your webpage. So, if your name was Emma Bunton for example, then you would see the initials EB and so on. So it was a great way to illustrate how data, which Channel 4 had collected about its users, made its way through its creative process, went through dynamic creative optimization. Channel 4 were effectively able to create a campaign that was tailored to the user, and then they had the opportunity to receive a tailored perfume within a few days. This was as a result of entering their data and credentials into the system and watching a commercial. The other campaign that you may be familiar with is the Coke campaign, where you can personalise your Coke bottle with your name on it. This is an example where digital has had an impact on a product and also promotion. So these are examples of fun ways to collect user data, pending approval from the user of course.”

The company has recently launched a subsidiary called Free Wheel Council for Premium Video with a mission to effectively communicate more efficient ways to exploiting the data that comes with programmatic ads without upsetting the way premium videos are delivered digitally.

In response to the question of what are Freewheels clients doing wrong that they should not be doing? Thomas went onto elaborate: “There are two types of broadcasters these days, one is focused on TV and the other on digital. So any platform can be classed as being an all-digital one. We are encouraging them to take advantage of the business relationship we may have with operators, so Channel 4 might have a relationship with SKY Media or ITV may have a relationship with SKY Media for example, and to not only see how we can leverage the data that they may have but to also encourage discussions with the distributor of the content, whether they are SKY or Virgin Media for example.”

He went on to explain: “These platforms have data that is collected from the set up box, which is data that is not solely going to be made available to third-party distributors or third-party content owners, like ITV or Channel 4 for example. Therefore, we are encouraging this process for them to discuss and find the right business terms. The data provided by third parties can be used as part of the creative process, and also for dynamic decision making as to which ad needs to be shown. We are actively pushing our data to be used across third-party platforms, and negotiating its access to data in the same way. We want to make sure that value chain between broadcasters and distributors is solidified. But with programmatic we have to be careful because TV has a lot of rules and restrictions that come with TV. You cannot show the same ad twice and the quality has to be good or cannot show competitive ads. But programmatic can help to do it, but in the right manner across channels. It is important to show the right ad to the right person, suing the right platform.”


Main photo: Freewheel's European Managing Director, Thomas Bremond (Copyright Navjot Singh)