Home Opinions Eight things to consider when choosing a sync-and-retarget advertising partner

Eight things to consider when choosing a sync-and-retarget advertising partner

Share on

Good news for UK advertisers! You can now avail of ‘Sync & Retarget’ services for your TV and digital campaigns, meaning you’re able, through the magic of content recognition, to know what someone is watching on television, in real-time, then show ads to them on digital channels via demand side platforms (DSPs). In an age where almost everybody uses their mobile devices while watching TV, this can be incredibly useful for advertisers. But what sort of questions do you need to ask before partnering up with a Sync & Retarget provider? We’ve compiled a list below:


  1. Will my campaigns be syncing against the live broadcast only or is there household-level TV viewing data that allows syncing to time-shifted viewing?

Viewing habits have changed hugely in the last couple of years. One way in which this has manifested itself is the large number of people who choose to watch recordings of their favourite content, rather than the live broadcast itself. Make sure you check with your vendor whether or not they can recognise when a viewer is doing this and sync to that, or if the sync can only occur with a live broadcast.


  1.  How many televisions are collecting ACR viewing data in each country?  From which manufacturers?

One question you definitely need answered is the exact scale of your reach when leveraging a Sync & Retarget offering. Precisely how many people’s real-time viewing habits can you track and sync with? Another point worth considering is which TV manufacturers your vendor is working with to get this data. Are they large-scale and reliable, for example?


  1.  What is the demographic profile of the households?

How well does your vendor know the demographics in each of the households they track and share data on? This will obviously affect your targeting, so having an understanding of this is important.


  1.  Is there an “explicit” opt-in for sharing of viewing data. Are your tracking systems compliant with the proposed EU ePrivacy revision?

Data protection has been a big issue in recent years, with people and governing bodies alike aiming to crack down on misuse of sensitive information. It is therefore imperative that you have a definitive idea of how well any provider you work with adheres to best practices and regulation in this area. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. recently ruled that TV manufacturers collecting TV viewing data, even anonymously, must notify the owner of the television prominently and get their express permissions to do it, normally referred to as an explicit opt-in. Make sure your Sync and Retarget vendor can show you how the users opted in to share their viewing for each television brand they represent.


  1.  How long does it take for an impression to show on mobile after the household has been exposed to a TV commercial?  Are there latencies if we are using your data on our own DSP?

The best application of Sync & Retarget is to reach out to the mobile devices of viewers of certain TV content while they are watching it – or at least very close to that moment. So it is extremely pertinent to know what the gap in time is, between both instances. Is it real-time, or very low-latency? If your digital impressions are being served an hour after the TV content has been viewed, is it really synchronising or just audience targeting?


  1.  How long does the retargeting continue for?

A simple enough question, but not one to be overlooked if you want to get bang for your buck. Optimising the length of time the retargeting continues is important if you are to fully benefit from it. Traditionally TV audience segments used in programmatic digital media buying do not have clearly defined TTL (time to live) lifespans. Make sure your Sync and Retarget vendor is fully transparent on how long individual households are retargeted for after each TV view.


  1. Can you frequency cap impressions on a household level, or just by user or device?

If with your branding, for example, you want to aim for certain households but not necessarily pester its occupants incessantly with your advertising, you may want to find out if your provider or DSP can cap the frequency of impressions shown at the household level. Capping by user or device can be useful, but you do run the risk of overdoing your brand reinforcement if you choose these options, so pick what makes sense to you.


  1.  Do you apply lookalike modelling to the TV audiences? Are the models verified by Nielsen and ComScore? Can lookalike modelling be disabled for true 1:1 targeting?

Lookalike modelling can be a great way to extend the reach of first–party audience data into the general population, based on online behaviours. However, lookalike modelled audiences often do not perform as well as the first-party audiences they have been extrapolated from.

With TV audience targeting it is important to know what you are getting and to maintain control for optimisation, especially around lookalike modelling. Most DSPs will allow you to apply lookalike audience extension yourself, so make sure you are getting true unmodeled TV audience data from the start. It helps to know whether these models can be verified as accurate by experts like Nielsen and ComScore – otherwise your digital impressions (and money) could get wasted on the wrong viewers.


Sync & Retarget represents a major opportunity for advertisers to reinforce their efforts – whether for more effective branding, higher engagement CTA campaigns or more efficient direct response. Using the advice above, take the time to evaluate your partners and providers in this area, then take advantage of the power of combining TV and digital together.

Share on