Actionable Insights – November 6, 2023
Episode Ten: Pay-per-outcome – The Seismic Shift in TV Advertising
Introducing episode ten of Gen3’s “Actionable Insights” podcast featuring Vikki Danielson from TV Scientific. Discover how TV Scientific is revolutionizing the world of TV advertising, particularly in the Connected TV (CTV) space. In this episode, Vikki shares insights into their unique pay-per-outcome model, which allows brands to pay based on real results, making CTV a performance-driven channel. Vikki also reflects on her diverse career journey in affiliate marketing, her transition to the publisher side, and the impact of CTV on affiliate marketing. Learn more about the differences between CTV and OTT, the challenges of tracking and measuring CTV ad performance, and how TV Scientific’s innovative approach is transforming the industry.
Hello and welcome to the next episode of Gen3’s Actionable Insights.
Today’s guest is Vikki Danielson from TV Scientific. Vicki’s going to share with us how TV Scientific is behind the seismic shift in TV advertising. They’re changing the landscape where CTV is now a pay-for-performance channel, adding that pay-per-outcome optimizable result for your TV strategies.
Hi Vikki, we are excited to have you here today on the Gen3 podcast. So, please introduce yourself and maybe just explain why everyone should listen to you?
Thank you. Yes, my name is Vikki Danielson. I am from a publisher called TV Scientific. As to why people should listen to me, I think it’s an exciting opportunity for brands to dial into because we are a connected TV platform that’s shaken up the CTV landscape in allowing brands and apps of all sizes to get access to the big screen, but to pay only on a cost per outcome model.
So, we’ll hopefully get into some of the details there, but I think it’s a very exciting new opportunity.
And so, I’m very excited as we’ve already been discussing a bit. So, I mean that’s obviously a mouthful and those of us in the industry get it.
But how do you explain what you do to people outside of the industry?
Yeah, crossing the bridge from the affiliate into the CTV landscape made this conversation a little bit easier. Because I know that you can go down a rabbit hole when you’re trying to explain affiliate marketing.
What I tell somebody that’s not familiar with marketing in general or our space. When you’re on the couch and you’re watching the TV commercials, we track that you have seen that commercial and then you go on to perform an action.
So, whether that’s make a sale on a brand’s website, whether that’s for the lead form… We have the software that tracks that activity and helps brand decide marketing spend.
And when you say track, it’s not the actual person per se, but the household, the IP address?
Correct. It’s that the user has viewed the ad and then gone on to make a purchase.
So, we’re watching. We’re watching you.
But anonymized, yeah.
But no, Vikki is not inside your home…
Great. So, before we dive in more deeply, I always ask our guests to tell us a bit about themselves in the form of an answer to a very specific question.
If you were to create a sandwich, what would it be? And where would you distribute it or sell it?
I think my biggest issue in life is that I’m a chocoholic and I tell myself every day that today is going to be the day that I do not eat any chocolate.
And I can never make it work. So, it would have to definitely be in a sweet format. And we just got back from a camping trip actually with the family and I think I ate s’mores four nights in a row.
Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. But what I would say for a sandwich is if there was some way to make the s’mores and maybe put it between bread and add some Cadbury’s chocolate, the marshmallow and maybe distribute that at school.
Because that sounds like a slam dunk!
I mean, I love that. I would definitely, my kids would as well. That’s a huge, huge favorite in our house as well.
Great. Let’s talk a bit more about you and your long career, or your established career in affiliate marketing. You’ve worked kind of across all aspects, the brand side, the agency side, the tech side.
Tell us a bit more about your or tell us about your career journey and kind of how each role shaped you for what you’re doing today.
I did start back in the day in the London office, a network side. And that typical journey started down as an account manager and went my way up to director managing a team of account managers.
And I think it’s always great to work network side to really get a feel for tracking, how everything works, fraud detection, working with brands on strategy, kind of the foundational aspects of what you need to know to understand how affiliate all works.
Which was great learnings. And then I went brand side. And I think going brand side, I was intrigued to see how hyper-focused and siloed it can be.
And that really opened up my eyes to attribution and really getting a feel for the full funnel mix and how all the channels are playing with each other and getting into the weeds of attribution, and also branding.
I didn’t even know that it was a whole discussion point to know whether the call to action button should be red or green. Like that was really eye opening for me.
And then agency side, I think was one of the toughest. You definitely learn to become a juggler and a multitasker.
But I think also that perspective gives you so much insight across verticals and the infrastructure set up in agency land is great in terms of knowledge sharing. That was really great to get in the weeds of brands and strategy too.
And then of course I crossed the bridge and went publisher side and that’s been a whole different ball game and got me started into the world of connected TV and how we could tie connected TV back to affiliate.
Yeah, so you actually have a bit of a story there where you kind of saw the opportunity and pushed TV Scientific to innovate a bit. Want to share a bit more about that?
So, one of my roles at the agency was actually, I moved to the publisher development side, and I was tasked with trying to find new to affiliate partners.
So, I guess an example of that could be when the NCAA ruling come, and athletes could then earn money for their image, name, and likeness. And I worked with a lot of those affiliate program, athlete networks to make them affiliates and educate them on how last click works and attribution and started connecting the affiliate platforms with brands themselves.
So, that was an example, same with card linked offers, same with, I mean, there was just a pool and Connected TV was one of them. I started to work with TV scientific.
We were trying to figure out, how can we sell TV through affiliate because it’s all CPM based.
And then that’s when the conversation started as, does it have to be CPM based? And that’s where we experimented with this new revenue stream for TV scientific.
So, and again, we’ve talked about this, it is for those who aren’t as familiar with the CTV and digital TV landscape from the advertising side, to be able to track performance for CTV is game changing as far as I’m concerned.
But before we dive into deeply, for the folks that… aren’t as familiar with the TV advertising landscape.
Do you wanna talk a bit more about what CTV is and how it compares to OTT versus linear TV or addressable TV?
And also, there’s a lot of, when it comes to advertising on TV, as consumers, we don’t realize how much is going on behind the scenes.
But as advertisers…
There’s definitely a lot of buzzwords there.
So, CTV and OTT, they’re often used interchangeably. The way I always explain it is think of Connected TV as being the big glass screen that sits in the family lounge that everybody gathers around.
They’re solely used to stream content. And then OTT, that stands for over the top advertising. And that really incorporates any other device within the home that you can also stream content.
So, think desktop, laptop, smartphone. So, that’s how I differentiate the two. And then a linear TV. That’s more when you see, when you tune into broadcast or cable television. It’s more of the traditional old school what’s been around for generations.
Our platform TV scientific, we’re focused on Connected TV and OTT, but hopefully have plans to try and figure out if we can shake up the linear space too.
So, lots to come there.
it’s a complex kind of landscape from the advertiser perspective. And within that as well is addressable TV, which goes back to the cable box where we can advertise based on your actual zip code.
With that mix, I agree it’s interesting growing up in the performance marketing environment. I always saw the value of the more direct response or measurable, optimizable media until I was working more closely with the linear TV team.
And going back to your point of you forget how important branding is, it’s that really more upper funnel awareness driver, booked directly with the networks, but it’s typically booked in advance, we’re going to do certain amount of placements, time, networks, TV shows.
Where when we get into connected TV and even OTT and addressable, we can be a lot nimbler with the audience targeting and the measurability and then obviously with the direct conversion measurement, optimize it a bit more.
Going back to from the consumer perspective, where they, you’re at home, you don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes of where and how that, everything that happens before you see that commercial.
Tell us about a bit for the commercials that would be served through TV Scientific, where would your consumers see those, that content?
So, when you’re sitting on the couch and you see those 15 or 30 second ad breaks, that is where TV Scientific can put your brands.
So, it’s in those, as your streaming content, it’s in those commercial breaks. Now we work with a supply team in-house that has one-on-one deals across all of our publishing partners.
We’re not buying anything on the open market. It’s all done pragmatic guarantee or private marketplace. So, really high quality inventory. And I can share a publisher list.
The brands can see our full coverage but think of any streaming platform that’s ad-supported, which I think is more than 50% now.
And that is Hulu, Peacocks, Pluto, CBSs of the world. So, really great coverage that we’re helping brands get on the big screen for.
So, basically any of us have seen ads served through the TV Scientific platform and we probably didn’t even realize. And then the difference in what you’re doing is really, it’s funny we were joking about traditional CTV versus the pay for performance cost per outcome CTV.
And it just illustrates how quickly evolving the landscape is that we’re calling, that we could refer to as see anything with CTV or digital or programmatic as traditional.
Tell us a bit more about how that’s different, kind of how what you’re serving within the cost per outcome pay for performance is different than other CTV platforms.
So, CTV platforms in general work on a CPM model. That’s how most television media is sold.
And that usually involves top of funnel branding and awareness, you’re paying for that impression count. We have shook that space up a little bit and we’re trying to plug a gap that really wasn’t filled by focusing on digital first marketers, so performance marketers.
So, I think if you think about TV advertising in the past, although $72 billion industry, it’s really been made up of the same three to 500-ish brands that can do branding and awareness and all the things that digital marketers wish we could but cannot because we’re so tied to ROAS and goals and KPI.
So, our platform was purpose built for the digital marketer. And on the CPO offering, so cost per outcome is the terminology and the outcome really could be a sale, it could be a lead, it could be a form fill, an install, whatever is that important metric for the brand.
What we’re offering is TV Scientific are gonna take that risk off of brands and we’re going to be buying the media on behalf of the brands regardless on a CPM. And then we’re going to be backing into the CPA goals or CPL, whatever that metric is, for brands.
So, we’re so confident in our abilities to help brands understand Connected TV, we’re going to put some skin in the game and say, let us buy the media and then we’re going to back it into your goals and really help you understand the value of TV.
So, that’s the biggest difference. Now with the CPM buys and we can do that too, and brands can come in and use the platform and sit in the driving seat.
The CPA side is really where TV Scientific hold the reins and it’s a fully managed service to brands. We meet with them weekly with our account managers that help them understand the optimization levers that we’re pulling.
But our offer is let us figure CTV out for you and then you can focus on what else you need to focus on. So, that’s really the biggest flip. It’s that we’re having brands pay us only when they see an outcome.
Yeah, and that’s huge and that’s really where the evolution comes into play of CTV going just from a more upper funnel tactic or strategy to really full funnel. And to your point, you can still, the benefit of working through TV Scientific is you can run that full funnel program with the CPM based upper funnel as in coordination with the… CPO, cost per outcome, more direct response action.
So, it’s again, coming from the programmatic CTV space, this is fascinating to me. So, from the affiliate perspective, and when you’re talking to, I know the teams here at Gen3 and other brands, how do you kind of talk to how, CTV fits into their affiliate program because typically, I think we’re not necessarily looking at TV as a publisher that fits into the portfolio.
So, you’ve got kind of a new way of thinking. Talk a bit more of kind of how you’re presenting that and how it fits in.
Yeah, and this is the biggest education in regard to how this partnership works, because of course there’s no click involved in the TV stream.
So, we start by explaining how attribution is, how tracking works and attribution is done. And it’s actually quite simple. We can now close the loop and explain the journey from when an ad is delivered to when that sale is made to even where that last touch came through.
So, everything currently is tracked through IP match. It’s a deterministic match on the IP. So, when we deliver an ad to a home, we are recording the IP address of that household.
We then work with brands through different integration options. It’s pixel, post back, or can sometimes be affiliate network master tag. Whatever the integration option, what we’re getting passed back from brands is all conversion data. And we are then doing a deterministic match on the IP.
So, we can now know if we deliver an ad on Tuesday and the brand sees a conversion on Friday, if that falls within their attribution window that is when TV Scientific are going to say, yep, we’re going to take credit for that sale.
Now, just because of that, as we all know, if we’re sat on the couch and we’re watching the TV ad, of course we can’t go up to the actual screen and convert. So, we know that these conversions are gonna be coming through secondary devices and likely other channels.
So, because we know that, we have to explain to brands, listen, we just don’t know what we don’t know until we test. So, we can do a really controlled, cruel walk-run approach to make sure that the brand is comfortable with the data and the attribution and that they have trust there before we open the gates and go for the scale and volume play.
So, most brands give us a cap to stay within, for this test, I don’t wanna spend more than 50K, 20K, whatever it is on the CPA commissions. And then we stay within that cap, we pass back the order IDs right down to the timestamp log level to have them weigh in and let us know what is it that they’re seeing.
If they’re seeing a ton more traffic to the site which they will, a ton more searches, very likely, then they might say, hey, let’s remove that cap and go for the scale and volume play.
But on the flip side, if what they’re seeing is, we like it, but this is blowing up our cap because we’re now paying TV Scientific because you can match the IP and the user came through, they navigated to Google and they came through a last click.
So, we’re paying double dipping twice. So, what we get… we get feedback is from brands. What does that look like? Let’s play around with both the CPA number and the attribution window to ensure that this makes sense for the brand and for TV Scientific to continue operating.
So, it never has to be said it and forget it. The CPA that we land at, the attribution window that we land at never has to be said it and forget it. We’re always gonna be altering that and optimizing and working with the brands to make sure that this makes sense for their models too.
Definitely. And I think that’s one of the most beneficial aspects of the pay for outcome is being able to optimize to that performance and see what’s working and kind of lean into what is working.
And so, you mentioned a bit earlier about the connection of kind of closing the loop to the viewer back to the purchase. And one of the questions that had come up was, are there opportunity to use a QR code or other kind of conversion tracking or talk a bit more about how you’re working within that?
We work with brands that test QR codes in their ads. And often we recommend to A/B test with QR codes, because actually the scan rate’s still pretty low that we see across the platform. And also, some publishers don’t allow QR codes in the manual verification, because they’re of course trying to keep users in their experience.
So, we help brands say, this is great as a check and balance, but we couldn’t… We wouldn’t be able to do attribution based on the code, on the QR scan, just because of the leakage involved.
As you can imagine, TV scientific are buying the media. And so, we need to see the conversions come through. And if it’s solely on a scan, the chances are then they won’t be reliable.
But definitely as a check and balance brands are testing.
And what about other kind of benefits that are, you know, the challenge with attribution is that you’re not getting every kind of touch point because you just can’t measure what people are doing on all of their screens.
So, what are some of the other kind of methods of tracking the impact or measuring the impact of running the program?
And this is where the scientific piece comes in because, and this is actually the cool stuff. We have a data science team on hand to connect with analytics teams at the brand level to, our goal is put the data in the format that they need to make those conclusions and really understand TV’s role across the business as a whole.
So, we have different methodologies. One would be to look at the basic traffic spike before connected TV during and after. Others would need weigh in from the brands, but if they’re able to share data back, what we do is provide that halo effect reporting that’s going to show them the increased conversion rates that happened in other channels as a result of adding TV.
And then we have the always on incrementality. And what that does is within a brand’s target market, we are going to be bidding and exposing users to that ad. But for those lost bids, we are going to create a synthetic hold group.
So, we’re left with the exposed users, the non-exposed users, and we’re going to measure what happens as a result of exposing users to the ad, and it will show how TV pushes people across the edge to convert.
So, there really is data science behind the whole platform, and we provide a ton of really in-depth reporting that can help with those insights, and a lot of the times we work very closely with the analytics team at the brand level to make sure we’re all telling the story in the same way, and we’re all looking at the metrics in the same way.
And the coolest report is that path to purchase, and you already mentioned this, it’s going to show when the ad was delivered, when the conversion happened, and where that last touch came through, right down to the order level.
So, it really does close the loop to show TV’s role across the channels in the mix.
Yeah, so it works and testing into it can prove that out for sure. And so, you know, one of our great success stories here is the work that we’ve done together, our account team and TV Scientific for Boutique Rugs, which is a finalist for best use of CTV at the Global Performance Marketing Awards.
So, which I think is pretty… Pretty cool that an affiliate-based pay for performance CTV campaign is a finalist, but let’s share a bit about kind of the Boutique Rugs case study and the successes that you’ve been able to drive for the brand.
Yeah, so this one was a great example of everything we just touched on. So, we worked with a team, we got better acquainted with the brand. We did that knowledge share aspect where we learned as much as we could.
They helped us with kind of targeting personas and successes that they’ve seen in the past. We turned the campaign on. It was focused on all customers. We have the CPA rate in play. We met with them, they were really happy with results. We were fine tuning on our side. We tweaked the CPA a couple of times to make sure that this was working out on both sides.
And then they come back to us and said, we love this, but what we’re finding is there’s too many existing customers in the mix. So, what can we do to focus just on prospecting net new to file?
So, we help them update their tracking. We understood they were differentiating between new and existing customers in the data layer. So, we updated our tracking to have them pass back the IPs just on new customers. And then we worked with them on suppression.
And so, we focused the campaign on new customers. I think we actually did leave a lower payout for the existing customers. And that’s where we’re at with them too.
But there ROAS was through the roof and they’re very happy and we continue to test. And this is what we mean by sitting close with the brands to the data, to the analytics team and making sure that it’s making sense for both parties.
So, it’s been great. They’ve been a great brand to work with.
Definitely, and I know from the ROAS perspective and the average order value, we saw significant improvements in that average order value, incremental revenue from the net new customers.
The ECPA was more cost effective than other upper funnel and an overall increase in the total online revenue.
So, we’re… Obviously we’re sold. And well, fingers crossed for the award entry because I feel pretty good about that.
Yeah, and it’s just a very different medium to what we’re used to in affiliate. It’s the biggest screen in the house, typically when people are focused and relaxed, surround sound, it’s the proof’s in the pudding, as we say.
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
And yeah, and to your point, whether or not people are going directly to purchase, like on their phones or desktops or laptops while they’re watching, there’s always that later, oh yeah, remember that Boutique Rugs, I need a rug, so, very cool.
And so, going back to kind of selling it into the client, we often there’s, you were saying too, going back to your experience on the brand side of silos and kind of ownership of different tactics and strategies.
So, I imagine when brands go to their current programmatic team or TV, video team that already has CTV or any linear OTT or Dress Bowl in their strategy, that it’s a bit of a challenge to convince them to try to test this more direct response or pay per outcome.
So, tell us a bit of how you and your teams have helped your clients overcome challenges there.
Yeah, I think this boils down to internal politics at the brand level, like you say, and where budget pot sits and where our responsibility and accountability sits.
So, our role as a partner is, tell us what we can do to help you navigate this internally and to get sign off to test through affiliate and on a CPO model.
So, we find sometimes that we get the TV teams, or the pragmatic teams brought into the conversations and, you know, they’re like, wait, we can do this on a cost per outcome model. And we’re like, yeah.
So, sometimes we have brands that are sharing budgets to testing and review the results and how that compares elsewhere. And other times we go through the act of suppression, and we say, hey, you know what? We don’t wanna muddy anything that you’ve got running.
So, tell us what you have covered. For example, if you’ve got a direct buy going on Hulu, we will simply remove Hulu from our mix. So, we can go through that act of suppression to make sure that there’s enough of a play-in field where we can complement internal efforts rather than fighting against them.
So, there’s always navigation It’s just about making sure that we’re bringing the right people to the table. And surprisingly outside of the teams that we’re talking to, this does usually sit and stay within the affiliate model and through the affiliate ecosystems. We sit and get really looped in with the analytics team as well as you can imagine to make sure that everyone’s looking at the correct source of truth to draw those conclusions.
So, I would say let us know how we can help you navigate based on your contacts and your teams.
Yeah, and one of my common, maybe rants isn’t the right word, but is that we need the affiliate team or the affiliate experts to be part of that upfront initial planning.
So, as brands are building out their business goals for the year and deciding where the investment goes and whether it’s the activation team or the… Investment team, the media team, understanding that as you’re allocating budget, affiliate strategies and initiatives are a huge important factor in that.
And that to your point here is there’s definitely more we could be doing and testing into. Every brand we talk to is looking for efficiency from a cost perspective, more efficient customer acquisition costs working, trying to do more with less.
So again, this is such a huge opportunity, and we need more brands to bring their affiliate teams into the planning and to test into these types of opportunities.
Yeah, well said.
And what we are seeing happen is, in some cases, budget is being pulled from those other channels and put into affiliate into this partnership, which is fantastic to see.
For all of us, that’s going to help with visibility internally on the affiliate landscape internal at Brands. So, it’s exciting.
Yeah, it is.
But I think to your point too, that’s where the silos kind of get challenging because it’s a rising tide effect and you don’t want the other teams to think you’re taking their budget but we’re all here to drive brand growth.
So, I know you and I have both been on the other side of that. So, anyway, I digress.
Again, this is such a cool evolution in both affiliate and performance marketing, but what do you think is next and kind of where the industry is going?
Ooh, what is next? I would say, unfortunately, the economic hardships are going to continue.
And we’re all up against it, I feel at the moment. And I feel that brands are going to continue to focus on the best channels, right? The ones that are driving sales in particular, good news for all of us… Performance marketing.
So, it’s really because performance marketing is results driven. I think that we’re really going to start to get the light shone on us more. I guess more of a voice than we’ve ever had before when it comes to stacking up against other channels internally and getting bigger budget pots.
And from a medium perspective, it sounds like gaming might be on the horizon for TV scientific as well?
Gaming is a big one for us actually, whether it’s, looking at the install, the download, it’s, there’s so many different events that we can track in app as well. And we have integrations across all the MMPs as you know, to help facilitate that as well.
So, gaming I think is going to be one to watch for sure.
I agree, I agree.
I think it’s especially for affiliate. It’s an untapped potential.
Great, so Vikki, this has been hugely interesting and educational. I wanted to ask you, we asked all of our guests to leave the audience with an actionable insight.
What would be your actionable insight to leave for the listeners today?
I would say don’t be afraid to test in to new opportunities and don’t feel that you need TV ready creative to test TV.
And this is where a lot of brands do shy away because they don’t have the assets to explore. So, the good news is we can take your existing online video that exists in other channels, and we can stitch that together to make it TV ready.
We’ve even worked with influencer content that’s been filmed on an iPhone. It’s wild. So yeah, I would say send us your raw assets, let us look at what exists and weigh in and help you turn those into TV ready creative and it takes us in a week to get live.
So, I think test, test, test, test, would be the final word.
Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Vikki, for your time. Again, I think this is such a huge opportunity for all brands.
So, thank you for joining us today and thank you for pushing TV Scientific to really move in this direction.
I think we’re game-changing for the entire industry. So, thank you.
Thank you for having me and look out for those s’mores sandwiches.
Yes, definitely. Thank you.