SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—NBCUniversal has a new tool to make sure that commercials are seen in the right context within specific television programs. “If there’s a wedding happening and people are in love and happy, you don’t want to see a hamburger,” says Denise Colella, SVP, Advanced Advertising Products & Strategy.
The Contextual Intelligence Platform uses machine learning to further advance the art and science of TV audience optimization. Its launch comes about a month after NBCU brought its audience optimizer in house, Colella explains in this interview at Beet Retreat 2018.
“We wanted to have our own proprietary algorithm. Nobody knows our inventory like we do,” Colella says.
The company also wanted to be able to use its optimizer beyond what it’s been doing on the linear TV side for about three years. “We also realized there are other parts of the company that can benefit from it, like our promo department,” Colella adds.
Continuing in the nuptials vein, she says the Contextual Intelligence Platform seeks to marry both audience and contextual optimization. By crawling scripts from the closed captioning of shows and studying a brief and a video review of the content of the ad “we’re actually able to match both the sentiment and the content of the lead-in scene to the ad with the ad itself. So you’re able to make the television experience more continuous, because what the viewer is looking for is that you’re continuing the feeling from the previous scene, continuing the emotion.”
Focus groups for ads placed with the new platform have shown an average increase of 19% in brand memorability, 13% in likability and 64%, as ADWEEK reports.
So what could go wrong with a wedding scene?
“A wedding could go poorly,” says Colella. “The bride could run out, it could be the wrong person. You don’t want to have your ad appear after that, so we also make sure that the emotions are matching.”
Since bringing its optimizer in house in October, NBCU has added new features to make it easier for advertisers to switch focus from price to reach or concentration. “And also we’ve been able to create restrictions. For example, if you don’t want too much overnight or there’s specific channels that you’re not looking for you can actually role them out of your optimization so you come up with a better media plan.”
It all adds up to “taking the best of the digital targeting capabilities and getting rid of the worst of them.”
This video was produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Beet.TV executive retreat. Please find more videos from the series on this page. The Beet Retreat was presented by NCC along with Amobee, Dish Media, Oath and Google.