LOS ANGELES – One of the challenges of understanding cross-screen content consumption is knowing the right time to go cross-screen with advertising messages and at what depth. Then there is the separate hurdle of finding enough places to target consumers with addressable ads.
These are two subjects that occupy the mind of Kathleen Brookbanks, Chief Operating Officer of Omnicom’s much-celebrated Hearts & Science media agency. Addressability in particular is “something we’re looking at in a deeper, much closer way,” she says in this interview with Beet.TV at the 2017 Transformation conference of the 4A’s.
Brookbanks doesn’t think about addressable as being about an individual. H&S uses data to understand the individual and then “cluster that together to understand their behaviors so that when we look at addressable we can make better matches between that behavioral targeting and where we place it.”
Addressable is very hard to do in linear television despite its mass audience reach, something that contributes to an overall shortage of forums, according to Brookbanks.
“Finding the forums for it is harder than ever,” she explains. “You have ratings declines in linear media and then you have some of the safety issues that we’ve now run into with a platform like YouTube in the social space.”
She describes creative versioning of ads as something that’s very detailed “and has to happen incredibly fast,” adding that it helps to change one’s view of what creative has traditionally been: something that takes time to develop. While media agencies have a view of “what’s happening with that versioning” it’s not to say they are the ones that should be doing it as opposed to creative shops. This debate “is more about the operational and skillset combined,” says Brookbanks.
She attributes the impressive rise of H&S—winning major business from Procter & Gamble and then AT&T in less than six months—to the culmination of some five years of investment in data and technology by Omnicom in its Annalect unit. “When we were ready to launch a new agency that is about data, we had already learned and had access to the technology, the forms of data and were able to quickly move into how that data informs decisions,” says Brookbanks.