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Lotame’s new Smart TV Audiences adds TV to Digital Profiles

March 28, 2016

The following announcement on Smart TV Audiences is adapted from an article that originally appeared on MarketingLand. Please click here to see the original or read below. 

Television, the granddaddy of marketing channels, is just now becoming a full citizen of online-focused marketing platforms.

Data management platform (DMP) Lotame has announced Smart TV Audiences. Through a partnership with an unnamed smart TV manufacturer, Lotame receives real-time, anonymized data about what a household is watching — including program, genre, time of day and network — and then matches that with its own info about your probable devices and their activities.

The end result: Viewer XYZ watched “American Chopper” about motorcycles on TV’s Discovery channel last night and probably owns this smartphone and this laptop. Cross-device matchup, CEO and founder Andy Monfried told me, is made through tracking of IP routers, geo-location and usage patterns that seem to coincide with the given TV. Matching TV-watching with the phone and computer owned by a given person or household is a major boon for marketers looking to reach anonymous users across devices. Lotame estimates its accuracy in making these matches is between 88 and 92 percent.

Since Lotame has a deal with affiliate marketer Skimlinks, it can also add online intent data to its online behavioral data. This additional detail shows that Viewer XYZ appears interested in buying a new camera because he/she recently visited a camera retailer’s site, and that XYZ has bought camera memory cards in online stores in the past.

Brands can then marry this kind of profiling to their own if they have a cookie or mobile ID on the same devices, so that they can more accurately target online ads about, say, motorcycles.

But Lotame also allows them to do “look-alike” matching with other profiles for which there is no TV-watching data. For example, another profile of a person who has shown a similar intent to buy a new camera, plus has similarly purchased memory cards and matches other non-TV characteristics, may also be a watcher of “American Chopper.” So, the thinking goes, this other person might also be receptive to online ads about motorcycles.

Too nosy?

Monfried told me that this smart TV determines what is being watched through a pixel-observing technology called Active Content Recognition. It doesn’t matter if the TV program content is from live TV, DVR or an online source like Netflix; the TV set of this manufacturer can still identify it.

Users can opt out of having their data sent, via settings. But Lotame said this is up to the TV maker. It’s not clear how the user knows about this option.

The Smart TV Audience Segments are made available by Lotame to advertisers through Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager, The Trade Desk, Tremor Video, Turn, Videology and Yahoo’s Brightroll. Currently, only one smart TV manufacturer had partnered with Lotame, but the New York City-based DMP says that represents about 12 million sets.

The ad-targeting of these enhanced profiles is currently only for online, but Monfried said his company is “in final stages of signing with four large local broadcasters with 40 markets,” who will use this data in conjunction with their own analytics to determine the characteristics of viewers for specific TV programs. TV marketers, Lotame pointed out, have previously only known a few things about specific shows’ viewers, such as age and gender, so expanding that profile by tying it to online intent data and behavior could have a major impact on their understanding of what those viewers want to buy.

Previously, he said, Lotame had some access to cable set-top box data, but this smart TV arrangement is “much richer and faster.” He added that, to his knowledge, “we’re the only DMP with this level of information.”

Monfried also noted that the addition of a fixed-location, IP-based device like an online smart TV to a user profile points to the day when other, IP-attached home devices — like wireless printers and connected refrigerators — could similarly enhance a user’s profile.

Although many users have accepted the anonymous profiling of their online behavior, it remains to be seen if tracking your TV watching habits, your printing, maybe even what you take from your refrigerator on a daily basis, crosses the threshold of being just too nosy.