SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Going into this year’s upfront sales season for television networks, marketers are either testing or adopting more tools to automate their media spending and to evaluate it. They also have more ways to reach target audiences as national addressable advertising moves out of pilot programs and into the mainstream.

“These past two months, just evaluating all of the different currencies for measurement, all of the national addressable capabilities that are now coming out with our publisher partners, automation, everything that we’re doing right now — it’s really exciting,” Molly Finnerty, senior vice president of strategic investment at Magna Global, said in this interview with Scott Schiller at the Beet Retreat San Juan.

Despite the advancements, the TV industry must demonstrate its power to generate business outcomes for advertisers that obtain measurable results from internet search and social media. Marketers want similar metrics from television, but such measurability is still being developed.

“You’ve probably heard us talk about outcomes — that is the Holy Grail — but we can’t just jump to outcomes,” Finnerty said. “We have a lot of work to do; there’s a lot of work to do on the measurement front. We still have a lot left to do with our strategic audiences.”

Many major brands have a long history of advertising on television, and have rich veins of data to mine on campaign effectiveness.

“We have clients that have 50 years of data supported in their models. It’s hard to upend and say to a client that has that long historical data to say, ‘OK, no more GRPs, no more, age-sex demo guarantees, we’re going to move on,” Finnerty said.

Programmatic advertising is becoming more prominent as digital video outlets offer more abilities to place ads in real time.

“We’re really pushing on our clients for more automation in the upfront…so really bringing all of that digital video that we’re investing in the upfront and trying to automate that,” Finnerty said. “It’s just kind of taking them down the journey of what we really want to do for the next 12 to 18 months.”

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