October 17, 2019

IHS Markit’s Shawn Ryan on Media Guarantees

A member of NYC TV Week’s Advanced Advertising panel titled “We Guarantee IT” – which examines how measurement and attribution in today’s fluid TV market is impacting media guarantees – IHS Markit’s Shawn Ryan follows developments from the buy side, the sell side and the brand side. NYC TV Week spoke with him recently about what kinds of issues his panel will be addressing. 


There’s so much data out there. How well are agencies making sense of all the information that’s now available to them? 


I think they’re doing okay. They’re doing the best with what’s being made available to them, whether it’s through a third-party data provider or sell side clients that are providing it to them. And it can be done better, though. They’re becoming more targetable, based on measuring campaign effectiveness. What truly needs to happen is that companies like IHS Markit or  other measurement-related companies need to pivot from just outcome-based analytics to a model where attribution leads to optimization. So instead of just looking at KPI’s to gauge past campaign performance – website visitation, location, sales, etc. – it needs to pivot to include recommendations for optimization future campaigns. 


I think a lot of smart people are trying to figure this out, and are trying to arm the agencies with this type of information being included in their normal KPI back-end results, so that on the next campaign they can be even better, even smarter and produce better results.  Our Polk Audience Solutions seek to provide this type of detail and analysis to agencies and other third parties across the industry.


When it comes to audience guarantees, are sellers able to convince agencies (and their brand clients) that they’re getting what they’re paying for? 


The agencies are in a tough spot. There’s so much change that’s occurring. This isn’t 25 years ago where there were a lot of  constraints on the way that they could do advertising. The change in TV particularly is dramatic; things are so different in the buying landscape now that they need more information to go back to their client and say, this is what we tried to accomplish, here are the results – not just visit or conversation rates, but deeper insights into the data that allows them to show recommendations on how to execute the next campaign based on the results of the last campaign. That could be based on creative, frequency, audience, ad placement, or a combination of those or other variables. I think that’s type of cycle is one that everybody wants – we’re seeing it every day. The buy side wants it, the sell side wants it and the brands want it, and so do third party data companies, too. Because if they have strong data, then it’s going to rise to the top. 


When it comes to guarantees, what are the obstacles to get the whole equation flowing freely?


Guarantees have been typically been made off of demos and Nielsen or ComScore ratings for linear TV. We’re starting to see this change with new entries competing against the big two. The other big change is the move away from demos and more advanced audiences being utilized. When you start seeing these changes, it creates a little uncertainty on both the buy and sell side. The TV landscape is changing and it’s going to take time. Agencies are testing this, and they’re going to want to see results so they can be more comfortable with the utilization of different data and different ways of looking at buying TV, and that goes with the sell side, too. They have a business model, and that model is changing. So you’ve got two parties looking change in the face, and they’re moving ahead rapidly, but also with a degree of caution. 


What will people learn who attend you session?


I would hope that they’d get a sense that  there are companies, including ours, working to develop better ways to ingest and utilize data and analytics to make buys in the future more effective.  Also that the KPI measurements that are so common today are changing to be more prescriptive in providing recommendations on how to be more precise for future campaigns.