YouTube’s brand safety woes over the past couple of years have been an obvious boon for companies like Precise TV which offer brand safety solutions specifically for the platform, but interestingly Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation has also driven more business their way. In this Q&A Christian Dankl, who left his position as CEO and chairman of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital CmbH to join Precise TV as chairman this summer, explains how GDPR has benefited his company. and gives his thoughts on some on YouTube’s competitors.
There are a number of platforms aimed at helping advertisers target more effectively on YouTube. How does your technology work and how do you differentiate yourselves?
We started Precise TV to put more control back into the hands of advertisers. Our machine learning platform analyses millions of videos at the most granular level allowing us to map precise moments to bring people and brands together at scale. In essence, we edit out the noise and amplify what resonates most with a client’s audience.
Our targeting framework differentiates us from other platforms in the market as we focus on the content, rather than a top-down channel approach. For example, if we’re working with a fashion brand, we will only target content specifically focusing on fashion rather than entire channels that might span multiple categories. This approach also protects a brand from running blindly against a seemingly safe channel, that may go on to post an inappropriate video, as we’ve seen with channels such as PewDiePie. This alignment ensures brand safety for our clients, optimising the performance of their campaigns at the same time as significantly reducing wasted spend.
Are you looking at working with platforms other than YouTube?
Yes, absolutely. We have had inbound interest from some platforms and are working closely with clients who have expressed strong interest in applying our methodology of targeting and brand safety to platforms including Facebook and Instagram. With the latest efforts from Facebook to compete with YouTube by launching IGTV, and previously Facebook Watch, brands are looking for better ways to control where their ads appear.
Has Precise TV found greater uptake due to advertisers switching to contextual advertising thanks to GDPR?
GDPR has definitely moved contextual relevance to the front of marketers’ minds. The resulting shift towards contextual targeting means that we can apply predictive models to help advertisers identify areas where users are most likely to engage with their content.
Just as GDPR is fueling conversations around contextual advertising and targeting, audience targeting on YouTube continues to fuel discussions around brand safety. As we move further into this “age of relevance” one question for brands remains; if you don’t know where your ads are being delivered, how can you be sure they’re safe?
Do you think this is a short-term reaction, or do you expect it to last?
Increasingly brands need to be smarter and more accountable with their advertising spend. As more brands start using contextual platforms like Precise TV as a solution to GDPR, they will see the benefits stretch beyond compliance.
As it stands, GDPR drives the need for relevance, which in turn means a large reduction in wastage resulting in a significant lift in engagement and brand metrics. For as long as contextual advertising solves brand safety and delivers greater performance for advertisers, then it will continue.
You once described Amazon as a ‘sleeping giant’ in the online video advertising space. How do you expect its product to evolve over the coming years?
Amazon is definitely starting to wake up now with the merger of its three advertising solutions into one consolidated platform. We’re likely to see the launch of an ad-funded version of Amazon Prime Video – and Netflix and other online streaming platforms will surely follow suit – as this service becomes the answer to TV for digital and will drive new users on top of existing SVOD subscriptions.
Together with YouTube’s anticipated growth rates, this increased competition will drive greater advertising transparency, brand safety and accountability back into the hands of advertisers. We’re excited to help the brands leading this transition.