LAS VEGAS – Everyone agrees that data can help to inform better video advertising targeting. The question is how best to do it.

The narrow range of options was the focus of a Beet.TV panel discussion at CES 2017 conducted at the OMD Oasis at The Venetian. It brought together representatives of 605, NBCUniversal, Omnicom Media Group and Turner Broadcasting.

Moderator Matt Spiegel of MediaLink started the dialogue by stating “We don’t seem to making a lot of progress” in using data to deliver specific creative iterations to specific consumers.

“Some of that comes from the fact that measurement is still inherently broken,” said 605 CEO Kristin Dolan. She added that even measured at the segment level, a panel is not going to tell you whether your creative is good. “It will tell you that the one person who represents all the other people that are supposed to look like that person thought the creative was good or wasn’t good,” said Dolan.

Spiegel opined that dynamic ad targeting is “a soap box we should all be championing. You’re filming all this great video content. It seems way too hard to create five versions and be able to run them.”

Michael Strober, EVP, Client Strategy & Ad Innovation at Turner, suggested reversing the cart and horse lineup. It would involve finding a way to identify an audience or segment and deriving insights based on certain things that are attracting that segment. This would both inform the creative brief and how the creative should be delivered.

“As opposed to we have the creative and which one should we allocate it to. I don’t know how that gets done,” Strober said.

“It’s about starting from the beginning of the process, which is the creative brief, and thinking about the audience targets and thinking about them together,” said Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer at Omnicom Media Group. This would yield “the ability to incrementally check your work along the way.”

There is much inertia supporting the current status quo of television ad buying, said Strober, wherein much inventory is purchased in advance every year during the Upfronts.

“We have to move to a more campaign-based approach where we’re constantly measuring and optimizing and iterating,” said Strober. “That’s just not there yet because of the measurement and the ROI metrics.”

To Denise Colella, SVP, Advanced Ad Products & Strategy at NBCU, it’s about taking baby steps toward a common goal. “We have to crawl before we run,” she said, adding that getting her clients to work with her to understand which format they want to use with which targeting capability “I think would be a tremendous improvement.”

Dolan related how a couple of years ago, her Cablevision Systems Corp. was assisting Madison Square Garden promote a boxing match featuring a Russian boxer. No one had considered running a Hispanic version of a TV spot until Dolan pointed out that “Hispanics buy tickets to boxing and watch it on TV.”

The eventual Hispanic version of the ad created “a lift because we took a product that we knew appealed to a particular segment,” said Dolan. “Just even getting people to consider doing something different from the way they’ve always done it isn’t that much more expensive and can result in some learning.”

This video was produced as part Beet. TV’s coverage of CES 2017 presented by 605. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.