With Display & Video 360, Google Media Lab brings the best of programmatic to its linear TV ad buys
Case Study

With Display & Video 360, Google Media Lab brings the best of programmatic to its linear TV ad buys

For their Chromebook, Google Home Mini and Pixel campaigns, Google Media Lab, the team that manages media strategy for all of Google’s advertising campaigns, were looking to innovate. While TV had been part of previous campaigns, the team wanted to challenge their standard approach and drive more efficiencies. They turned to Display & Video 360, part of Google Marketing Platform, to complement their traditional TV buys and help them test their first linear TV buy programmatically.

Streamlining TV ad buys

The traditional TV buying and selling model involves several manual interactions that take up most of a TV buyer’s day. Activities such as requests for proposals, insertion orders, ad trafficking, managing emails, spreadsheets and phone calls are all time-consuming.

By leaning on technology to automate workflows, Media Lab and their traditional TV agency, PHD Media, managed to significantly reduce complexity. The team was able to use Display & Video 360 to streamline the media planning, buying and execution process from 10 steps to just five. They were able to eliminate network negotiations, complicated trafficking, and post-campaign discussions with research vendors. For example, a campaign launch typically involves multiple teams to negotiate pricing, work with publishers, and verify creative specs. Instead, Media Lab was able to automate this work with Display & Video 360.

Bringing control and precision to traditional TV media buying

With traditional TV media buying, it’s not easy to set the financial terms of your media buys and monitor them over the entire process. Buying linear TV with Display & Video 360 gave Media Lab and PHD more control over their investments and channels. They configured detailed campaign parameters such as budget, flight and local markets. Display & Video 360 also allowed Media Lab to precisely allocate budget and manage reach across program genres, daypart and geography.

To hit their target CPM goals while ensuring nationwide reach across key markets, the team used Display and Video 360's automated TV spot bidding from more than a thousand premium broadcast stations available through WideOrbit Programmatic, a local TV inventory source. Buying linear TV on a per-spot bidding model contributed to increased cost efficiency. As a result, CPMs turned out to be lower than what Media Lab would have expected for a comparable linear TV campaign managed in a traditional way.

For the campaign advertising Google Home Mini, the team tested a variation of linear TV by allocating part of the budget to addressable linear TV with Google Fiber, another inventory source available via Display & Video 360. Fiber's ad inventory is fully addressable, which means that marketers can deliver different, more relevant ads to different households watching the same program. For this Home Mini campaign, Media Lab used Custom Affinity powered by Google — moving beyond the classic age, gender, reach, and frequency components of audience planning based on gross rating points (GRPs). Because they were able to ensure they were reaching the right audiences with relevant messages, they were able to get additional reach by extending to programs and daytimes that would not have been part of a typical TV plan for Media Lab.

Measurable insights enabling smarter TV buying decisions

Traditional TV buying offers little flexibility to optimize the campaign based on its progress. Thanks to faster delivery metrics in Display & Video 360, Media Lab and PHD Media were able to optimize and adjust bids throughout the length of the campaign.

Media Lab was also able to get deeper insights after the campaign ended. They chose the Chromebook campaign to assess how programmatic linear performance compared with traditional TV buying. They worked with the Display & Video 360 product team to run a custom brand interest study using Brand Lift. Brand Lift measures the impact of a campaign on creating brand interest by using organic searches on both Google.com and YouTube. They quickly identified that their programmatic TV campaign was significantly more efficient than the national campaign: Each dollar spent on programmatic TV drove 160% more searches than the traditional national campaign.

“By executing our TV buys in Display & Video 360, we were able to easily assess what was working and what was not. In the future, it is definitely going to help us be smarter about where we’re spending and more efficient from a workflow perspective.”

Meghan Biron, Global Media Technologies Manager, Google Media Lab

Not only did the team validate that buying linear TV through Display & Video 360 was driving better online impact, they were also able to uncover valuable insights to inform future campaigns. For instance, Brand Lift enabled Media Lab to see which local market, dayparts, and channels drove higher relative lift on brand-related searches. Knowing that ads aired in Los Angeles drove fourteen times more searches per dollar spent than those in Denver allowed them to adjust creative design, audience segmentation and budget allocation.

The Media Lab team is planning on using these insights to further improve TV media performance while streamlining their buys with programmatic TV.

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