Anheuser-Busch uses A+E targeting tool to guarantee people are actually watching TV ads
Anheuser-Busch InBev worked with A+E Networks to strike ad deals that guarantee people actually watched its commercials.
The results mark a step in TV advertising as it works to match the compatibilities of digital targeting and effectiveness.
A+E worked with AB's Budweiser brand and its agency Dentsu to guarantee against viewability. In the fourth quarter of last year, AB ran its creative for Budweiser across A&E, History, FYI and Vice. AB also expanded its scatter buy through the first quarter of 2021.
“As an advertiser, as a marketer, it gives me the confidence of having a direct response of seeing how many people are actually available to watch, rather than having a basic reach and basic impression served,” says Paolo Provinciali, vice president, media, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Budweiser saw an increase of 7.6% in impressions served through the campaign compared to a third-quarter benchmark, according to Roseann Montenes, VP, precision and performance, A+E Networks. She noted that the campaignsaw improvements not just on one network, but on every single one of the networks inside the optimization.
The test puts A+E one step closer to achieving a goal long sought after by the linear TV networks: the ability to target receptive audiences at the same rate as internet advertising giants.
“It’s transformational to bring this concept to TV because it can allow us to break down these silos in the way we manage media,” Provinciali says. He adds that consumers accustomed to digital advertising do not expect a distinction in traditional advertising, and the technology helps close that gap.
A+E was one of the first network groups to experiment with offering business outcome-based guarantees to marketers. Letting clients target audiences and optimize commercial buys on a network gives networks similar capabilities to digital advertising.
To determine whether audiences were actually viewing the ads, A+E tapped metrics tech specialist TVision. “We could see not only the amount of impressions that were served against our target demographic for the Budweiser campaign, but also what percentage of the impressions were served when someone was in the room,” Provinciali says. And because the samples were representative of a national population, results from that sample could be extrapolated to match a national audience.
“We knew exactly who we were reaching, the percentage of the population, optimizing for reach,” says Provinciali. “But also we knew the effective viewable reach, a viewable impression.”
Anheuser-Busch was also able to see how much viewability increased when A+E optimized its buy.
Provinciali declined to disclose what percentage of its advertising budget is devoted to these types of advanced TV buys, but noted it is a small percentage.
Moving forward, however, he says this will become Anheuser-Busch's dominant strategy in the future. "My dream is that this is going to become the currency," Provinciali says. "The currency is going to be attention and viewability, because that is a much more tangible metric associated with how people consume media, and not a kind of made-up, or virtual metric that we create in order to trade that does not reflect how people consume the media."
The test served as a proving ground for the technology, says Cara Lewis, exec VP, head of U.S. investment, Dentsu Media, adding that they are looking to have the technology adopted by more clients.
Provinciali says more finely-tuned advertising on linear formats are the future of advertising. “It wasn’t easy, it hasn’t been easy, and it’s not going to be easy,” he says, adding that “there is a very good advantage of being first and having wrapped your head around things.”