Real Business sat down with TVSquared Founder and CEO, Calum Smeaton, to discuss the world of data analysis, the benefits of using television advertising as part of your marketing campaign, and the future of traditional TV advertising in the face of booming online streaming platforms.
Launched in 2012, TVSquared developed propriety ACR technology that measures and collects relevant data from many linear and streaming TV platforms on advert performance to provide clients with accurate and informative analytics. The TVSquared platform gives advertisers access to television ad impressions, ad occurrence, online/offline results, and audience insights that are crucial to ascertaining the success of an ad campaign.
“We help advertisers understand the data measurements collected by our system, like how many people viewed the ad within any set time period, and then we focus on the outcomes of that advert impression; was there an increase in website traffic, did viewers make a purchase or enquire about services, did the advert reach an unexpected market segment?”
The insights provided by TVSquared allows advertisers to make informed decisions, optimise their TV campaigns, and understand their market demographics better. Smeaton and his team work with all sides of the television ecosystem, collaborating with publishers, broadcasters, and agencies to host information from multiple platforms and sources on one user interface. Just as Facebook and Google provide a set of tools to show users what works for their social media campaigns, TVSquared has built a similar system for advertisers purchasing TV space.
“I think in the early days advertisers recognised there was a problem measuring the value of TV marketing, especially DTC advertisers. They already had access to these types of analytics to help drive their visual advertising elsewhere, but TV was really missing this kind of performance data. We see more and more TV advertisers want to see proof of performance, they want to see what works, they want to know that assigning their budget to TV time is justifiable. The necessity and criticality of this insight has just increased over time.”
With a significant background creating and nurturing software and e-commerce start-ups, Smeaton saw that TV previously measured advertisement/show success through audience ratings and the industry as a whole had not embraced ‘big data’ to evolve the sector and incorporate contemporary marketing practises. There was a gap in the market for software that could gather critical data for DTC advertisers, so Smeaton took the plunge. One of the biggest challenges for the business was educating prospective clients and partners on the value of the business and how the innovative software provided businesses with accurate, up-to-date, independent TV advert data analytics.
“We were effectively doing black magic; we invested hours into explaining our algorithm, approach and went into extreme detail to explain to people how the service worked. Once they were convinced, they were usually intrigued but that early education within the industry and to potential clients required a lot of effort. Change is hard and what we were proposing was revolutionary.”
The pandemic accelerated a new challenge: the fragmentation of the TV industry. With subscription streaming services like Netflix disrupting the industry, TVSquared are now contending with changing audience habits, such as watching shows on multiple devices at different times in different locations, making it difficult to measure the performance of advertising campaigns. The solution they developed updated the software to gather cross-platform insights from participating platforms, combining data from different sources, timeframes, and devices. Despite the new challenges to traditional TV, Smeaton is confident TVSquared can continue transforming the way TV is optimised for advertisers, helping to empower clients to adapt their strategy in an informed, relevant manner.
The key to success?
“Entrepreneurialism is never an easy path for anyone. You have got to build a strong, reliable team around you. If you are young or new to the challenges, ask for help. You would be surprised how many people are willing to grab lunch with you or get a coffee and share their expert knowledge with you. I was very lucky that I had help from the high-calibre leaders that were more than happy to support me.”