Alex Khan
Mar 10, 2015

A skill media buyers need to stay relevant

By 2019, Cisco estimates that 71 per cent of the Asia's mobile traffic will go towards online video. The region's TV-oriented planners would do well to start figuring out this complex landscape, writes Alex Khan of

Khan: "You don't need a televised soccer game to reach 32 million people"

During the Asian Cup, 32 million people tuned in to China’s CCTV-5 to watch the quarter-final between China and Australia. With TV still attracting massive audiences, it’s easy for planners to assume television will continue to be the best way to influence consumers.

Yet, times are changing. Online video is becoming a significant part of the media landscape. Anyone who doubts it should scan the statistics in Cisco’s Virtual Network Index. It reports that Asia-Pacific’s consumer internet video traffic grew 38 per cent in 2013, and it’ll hold close to that rate of growth each year up to 2018, at least. By then, one trillion minutes of video will cross the internet each month.

Over the years, digital advertising and its data analytics has offered deeper insights into how consumers behave in a way that conventional electronic broadcast media could and will never achieve. On one hand, you’ve got “who clicks where and what do they do next,” and on the other, it’s “who’s in the living room, which channel are they on and is there any way to know for sure whether or not they’re watching?” Online video provides the impact of television advertising with the added dimension of accountability.

These days, you don’t need a televised soccer game to reach 32 million people. Online video, working across multiple platforms, can achieve the same reach, with the bonus of more clearly defined targeting and reporting. Traditional free-to-air TV can help bump up the audience quickly, but increasingly buyers are finding that the optimal mix of media involves online video to help build frequency, fill-in niche audiences and provide the interactivity conventional TV lacks.

Today, Asian advertising agencies are quickly building expertise in online and social marketing while investing heavily in mobile. Cisco predicts 2.8 billion mobile users in the region by 2019 with more than half of those users on smart devices. By then, video will account for 71 per cent of the region’s mobile data traffic, and the agencies cannot afford to get left behind.

For the consumer video will be closer to ubiquity—it will be consumed at home and on the go, in short form and long form, live and on-demand. For advertisers the opportunity is immense, but it comes with a high degree of complexity. Where should they advertise? How can they build cohesive campaigns that build frequency through multiple channels and across different devices?

There’s one way, and that’s by relying on the information and analytics currently accessible to them. Advertisers need to take advantage of the availability of consumer data, their brand’s own first-party data, locational and other device data and third party inputs–meshing all of that with behavioural information gathered from consumers’ actions in response to campaigns.

It all adds up to a complicated planning scenario—too complex for the traditional planning techniques agencies have used for decades. There’s no doubt negotiation will continue between publishers and buyers, but without the technology to support spend decisions, planners will not have a clear picture of what each piece of inventory is worth to them.

That’s why in 2015 Asia-Pacific will see immense change in how advertising is managed. The shift is already well documented in other parts of the world, where programmatic is part of the industry’s lexicon. Now, more and more brands in Asia-Pacific will demand the use of programmatic platforms to drive an optimal ROI, ensuring that their video creative reaches the right people, in the right place, at the right stage in the consumer’s buying cycle. Planners who master programmatic technologies will be in high demand. Those who don’t will be left behind.

Alex Khan is Southeast Asia managing director with
Campaign Asia

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