Seven’s Magnite partnership to give programmatic buying ‘new flexibility’ at the Olympics

With 43 digital channels as well as two linear options available for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Seven is offering brands the opportunity to target segments and scale all in one. Mumbrella's Zanda Wilson caught-up with Seven's Nicole Bence and Luke Smith, as well as Magnite Australia's James Young, to find out more.

Seven West Media is predicting that its forthcoming Tokyo Olympics coverage will be one of the biggest events, if not the biggest event, in Australian advertising history.

Kicking off in late July, Seven’s broadcast will include two linear channels as well as 43 digital channels available via the 7Plus platform, which users will need to sign up for. It will include a stack of different language broadcasts as well.

Key to the offering for advertisers is Seven’s partnership with Magnite, which will allow buyers to make detailed and segmented programmatic purchases of inventory.

Magnite Australia MD James Young

Magnite Australia managing director, James Young, tells Mumbrella that the offering for advertisers around these games allows for highly targeted advertising in a long-form video setting.

“We’ve worked on lifestyle with Seven a few times, but this is a really big event. The exciting bit about making inventory available programmatically for the Olympics is it does give buyers the opportunity to put the right ad at the right moment in front of the right person. And Seven making their inventory available across all buying sets… it just opens up the door for everyone to be able to tap-in, at the right point.”

Long-form video brings additional complexity compared to the programmatic buying environments that marketers are used to, Young says. Marketers have a lot more to consider, but the rewards are substantial.

“It’s a difficult position for broadcasters to be in in a programmatic world, because in other environments like display and short-form video, you don’t have to think about user experience as much, whereas a long-form video, it applies a lot more complexity. And then live [programming] on top of that creates even more complexity.”

Seven West Media head of programmatic sales, Luke Smith, says the network is bringing previous learnings into the partnership and its Olympics offering. “We’ve been working with Magnite for three- -and-a-half-years, since 7Plus launched.

There’s been a lot of live sports since then, but it feels like the Olympics is definitely the culmination of learning over those three-and-a-half years. It’s going to be the biggest digital event in Australia’s history to date.”

Seven West Media network digital sales director, Nicole Bence, believes the opportunities around the Olympics could fundamentally change ingrained buyer behaviours, especially for those who haven’t yet embraced a cookieless future.

“It brings new opportunities and it brings new challenges, because in sport you’ve got that huge influx of audience in such a concentrated moment. If you look at the buyer behaviors of what goes on normally day-to-day, this is quite a different experience for them to wrap their heads around,” Bence tells Mumbrella.

“The buyers are typically working on historical data… For instance, if Big Brother was big last year, [that suggests] it will be big next year. Whereas these audiences could be two million on a single event, you really don’t know.

“So how do we keep the market well-educated and well-informed in advance? We’ve done a lot of work in the market to make sure all our formats are programmatic first. If we think about some of the new formats coming through, traditionally in the old world, people would make those only available if you bought directly from a salesperson.

“Whereas we’ve really focused on making those buys programmatic, and then it’s a big marketing jump for us to go out and talk to all the buyers. We’ve got 43 channels outside of linear, there is significant volume. There’s a whole team down in Melbourne who will be curating content. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, what level of sports enthusiast you are… you can literally customise your own Olympics.”

Seven network digital sales director, Nicole Bence

While the proposition for advertisers and buyers has added complexity compared with buyer linear television, Young says that is what allows really close targeting of different audience segments.

“If you think about of that complexity that comes with the amount of different content that you have, in different languages and everything else, you’re creating all these different pockets of opportunities for advertisers to get into in front of really different audiences, but really mass scale, [and] in a very compressed timeframe as well.”

Buyers will, of course, still have the opportunity to purchase at-scale on Seven, with Seven touting the Olympics to deliver big linear numbers, even if not quite at the same scale as some past events. But there will also be a significant amount of flexibility if they want to make changes on the fly, as the games get underway and more data becomes available.

“Making those audiences available instantly to programmatic buyers, it allows them to twist their strategy on the fly and give them flexibility about how they’re talking to different audiences to see what’s working, or what’s not working for their brands,” Young explains.

“There are a lot more data points that Seven understands around the audience, and being able to feed that back to buyers in a privacy led manner, but a way to bucket those audiences together to make them targetable on the fly.”

Marketers won’t have to choose between scale and or context, Bence says. At these games, and thanks to Seven’s Magnite partnership, marketers can choose both.

“Nearly five years ago now, last Olympics versus this one, it’s the scale of addressability [that has] changed. Typically when you had more audiences on linear, we didn’t have the scale of first-party data you couldn’t get down to an 18-24-year-old female in the netball.

“So 7RedIQ and the launch of that product, what we’ve been developing over the last 12 months. The ability that you don’t have to choose audience or context, you can choose both.

“You can have an amazing premium high-value contextual environment, like the Olympics full of hope and dreams and all those things that we know that the Olympics does. And then you can also chase a pretty narrow audience if you want to. Or you can go to scale.”

The team at Seven has done plenty of research and audience analysis to make sure media buyers are making informed decisions all through the process, whatever their strategy is.

Bence explains: “There’s been a lot of segmentation work we’ve done on our own audiences. The marketing [team] are not just targeting eyeballs, but they’ve got audience segments and they understand who they are and where they are now.

“We’re at the end of the line with that, selling it. Buyers can either buy guaranteed [audiences] or they can have that flexibility and just trade how they want to. I think there’s a lot of confidence around the numbers we’ve put out, there’s a lot of confidence in the delivery and we’re tracking ahead of where we thought we’d be at this point, still five, six weeks out.”

It is inevitable, however, that some spikes in viewing can’t be predicted. Live sport is unpredictable in that way.

Seven head of programmatic sales, Luke Smith

“Live sport, the Olympics are going to be completely different. We’re going to see enormous spikes in supply at times that we can’t predict or buyers can’t predict,” Smith admits.

“Now we can give them as much information to say that, Kyle Chalmers is going for Gold in the 200 metre freestyle in the first week of the games, but we need to make sure that they get that structure and they get that set up.

“So yes we are giving them the flexibility to trade in the way that they want. But they’ve also got the ability to be able to capture these enormous audiences that are going to be coming in for these gold medal moments over the course of the games.”

As the industry moves towards that aforementioned cookieless future, for brands and marketers who haven’t made the jump and move away from third-party data, Bence says there’s no time like now.

“A lot of marketers are starting to think about ‘oh gosh what does this mean for me and my brand. Am I going to have to change what my buying looks like?’.

“This is a great opportunity for those marketers to do test and learn in a digital environment that’s got some scale, and go ‘ok how does my first party data stack up.’”


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