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MiQ’s Tom Richards On How ACR Data Is Driving Programmatic Marketing Intelligence

MiQ, which you may know by its previous name, Media IQ, is a global purveyor of market intelligence with a particular focus on providing marketing intelligence to programmatic solutions. Lately, those solutions have included TV, as the rise of CTV and OTT and all the data that is available around them, have made TV an integral part of any OTT buy.

In order to get a better sense of what MiQ was up to in the TV space and why they were now working with ACR data vendors like Inscape, I sat down with Tom Richards, MiQ’s Global Product Director of Media & Data for what proved to be a very illuminating phone call. (Among other things, I learned that “in store traffic” is called “foot falls” in the UK.) The rest is below:

Tom Richards

Alan Wolk (AW): Tell me about MiQ. Where do you guys sit in the media ecosystem?

Tom Richards (TR): We pride ourselves on three big areas: (1) connecting a range of data sets, TV data being a big component of that, (2) the application of data science, analytics and machine learning on top of those connected data sets, and then (3) being able to action that intelligence back into programmatic buying platforms or DSPs. 

So think of us as building their middleware layer around these the DSPs, and making sense of lots of disparate, disconnected data sets. 

One area we really focus on is post-campaign analysis which means we offer measurement insights on campaigns, customers and competitors, which ultimately means our clients are able to derive more value from their programmatic media dollars in the process. We refer to the whole process as “programmatic marketing intelligence.”

AW: Where does ACR data fit into that programmatic marketing intelligence practice?

TR: We’ve always used some TV signals in our insights and buying approaches and so we’ve had partnerships for TV data in the past. But over the past few years, we’ve seen ACR data really come to the forefront and with ACR, there’s a lot more robust, granular, and powerful TV data coming into the ecosystem that we’ve traditionally worked in, which has been digital and programmatic. 

I think, at the same time, what we’ve seen is a convergence where TV is becoming more addressable and more connected. And that means that programmatic advertising, which is our area of expertise, is expanding into TV as well. 

AW: Where does TV fit into a programmatic buy?

TR: We look at TV in two ways: TV as content, a medium we can buy through connected addressable TV, but also TV as context, as in those really rich data signals that you get from the ACR data points.

With TV as context, we’re able to couple that with all the other data points in our technology like online browsing behavior and location data. That creates a really interconnected world of data that we can delve into. And ultimately, we translate that back into more effective programmatic buying.

AW: So what specifically about ACR data makes a programmatic buy more effective? 

TR: We’ve had a long history of applying predictive analytics pre campaign—it’s like getting a head start in the execution of programmatic marketing. So anything you can apply pre campaign, which is predictive, which is getting an insight into the way in which consumers are behaving, will give you a head start in the activation. Some examples of that could be, “How do we understand and map clients’ first party data to the shows and channels that their customer base is watching, but which are not currently included in their TV plan?” It could be a fusing of analytics to identify the 30 to 40 percent of TV viewers who are underexposed to the brand’s TV commercials.  And we might need to top up that segment, the underexposed viewers, but at the same time, 60 percent of the viewers for those particular shows might be overexposed to the brand’s message. So that really creates an opportunity for us to have a more tailored programmatic buy off of the back of that.

AW: How are MiQ and Inscape innovating to move ACR capabilities forward? 

TR: Working with Inscape, we’ve found they’ve been great in terms of continuing to innovate in the space. We’re going to be the first partner to work with them on processing ACR data in close to real time for activation purposes. So there’s no more delay in targeting audiences and we’re able to get into a second screen one to one activation almost immediately. That’s really powerful.

In early tests, we’ve seen real-time, second-screen exposures drive up to 42% in improved KPIs, maximizing marketing and media investments by delivering great results that truly impact the bottom line.

AW: What sort of data do you look at to understand if a campaign was effective? What sort of metrics do you use for that?

TR: Clients see success and effectiveness in so many different ways. And for us success is obviously a happy client, right? So it really depends on their goals. We typically look at some sort of an action in terms of how we measure success.

We also work with clients whose goals are broader too, clients who want to create greater brand awareness, which is something we’re seeing more of with TV. It used to be that brand awareness studies took months and months to complete, and so you wouldn’t get results in anything close to real time. But that’s changing now and we can make informed decisions faster. Our goal is to help brands to optimize towards the pockets of inventory, the TV shows the channels, the time spots, the geos, against the digital signals that move the needle when it comes to metrics like consideration and awareness, in the same way that we would if it was a more performance based KPI or conversion.

AW: What was it about Inscape that was attractive to you, that made you choose them as your ACR partner?

TR: Over the past couple of years, we’ve been looking at vendors and we’ve been really impressed with Inscape in terms of the quality and the variety of the data that they are actually able to access and pass through ACR. 

Another big factor for us was when we looked at them from an end consumer perspective on the issue of privacy, how they have a real, direct relationship with that end consumer. They make sure that all that data is explicitly opt in which is critical now that privacy is such a key focus. Data is great, but if you can’t act upon it because of privacy concerns, then it doesn’t provide you any value. And with Inscape, we know that’s not going to be an issue. 

I think the other piece to add to that is we’re looking at really significant scale off of their data sets, which means that we’re able to get scalable addressable audiences that can be customized and tailored.

For us, that means we got increased connectivity, increased analytical flexibility and customization when it comes to activation or insights back to a client. Getting all that TV data increases the ways in which we can provide really rich intelligence and really rich programmatic activations to our clients. So they’ve truly been a great choice for us as a partner.