Social Media Giants to Jump into Programmatic TV

Programmatic TV, TV advertising

This week, news broke that both Facebook and Twitter are deeply engaged in talks with television programmers to gain digital rights to stream both live events and selected television programming. This should come as no surprise; over the past year, there’s been an arms race between social media sites to get into the live streaming arena with YouTube releasing Connect, Facebook’s Live, and Twitter’s Periscope.

There has also been news that Facebook is in discussions with the NFL to gain the streaming rights to Thursday Night Football. Additionally, Facebook is also engaged with other TV executives and programmers to stream other television offerings. Details are not known at this time, but this signals Facebook and other social media channels’ intent to become major players and influencers into streaming.

Television’s hesitancy to embrace streaming capabilities has been widely circulated, but we’re beginning to see that trend reverse with select programming making the move to social media formatting. Live from E! from Entertainment Television is being filmed specifically to encourage Facebook’s users to engage on Facebook Live. It is safe to say that we’ll start to hear of similar arrangements in the near future, as the growing trend of users absorbing content in other non-traditional ways continues.

Implications for Programmatic TV Advertising

Programmatic TV advertising is still very much in its infancy; revenues are projected to reach approximately $1B in 2016, just a fraction of total projected television advertising revenues of $60B. Although that amounts to a small percentage of the overall total of television advertising dollars now, the growth of streamed content delivered directly to users’ televisions as well as across multi devices has exploded over a short period of time. It’s important for advertisers to understand that the time to start thinking about adding programmatic TV to your media mix is now.

How do these recent moves affect paid social advertising? It’s no secret that Facebook and Twitter have both made huge strides to improve their advertising user interfaces, inventory and ad unit offerings; it’s just a matter of time before programmatic TV advertising units are added to the mix with the explosion of content being offered to television viewers online. We anticipate that advertisers will soon be able to leverage the same targeting segments available to other ad units for programmatic TV. As with any other ads one may run on social media sites, it’s of the utmost importance that user experience and engagement remain the main focus when crafting campaigns. Any future ad performance in the programmatic TV realm will likely remain heavily influenced by engagement rates, just as all other ad units run in campaigns through social media sites.

If your current or future plans include programmatic TV advertising, make sure your digital marketing partners are anticipating the impact of these moves and ensuring your business goals prepare your campaigns for success.