Sky Media launches ad targeting against viewers’ search behaviour

Sky Media launches ad targeting against viewers’ search behaviour

Sky Media has begun offering advertiser clients a new way to target its viewers: find out what they’ve been avidly searching for online and match them to specific advertiser categories.

It means, for the first time, brands can target Sky, Virgin Media and Now TV audiences based on specific online search behaviours including frequency and intent.

Sky’s ad sales division has named the new targeting capability Search Behaviour and it uses search data collected by Captify. The data is categorised by frequency and intent and then matched to Sky’s first party data.

Through its addressable advertising platform AdSmart, Sky Media can then offer targeted ads to be delivered into relevant households in both live and on-demand content across Sky, Virgin Media and Now TV services.

Seven search behaviour categories are available at launch: Home & Garden, Travel, News, Job & Education, Arts and Entertainment, Games, Pets and Animals.

Importantly, only the top 30% of searches over the last 30 days are considered.

Dan Cohen, Sky Media’s director of TV advertising, product, and innovation, told The Media Leader: “We take the people who are really interested at the top 30% of searches and match that so we know that it’s not [including] anyone who might occasionally have looked at a flight because they were thinking about it. It’s people who are desperately actively searching and actively interested in that subject matter.”

Cohen explained that these seven categories were decided by taking into account general patterns of what people search for, as well as what existing and prospective advertisers would find attractive as targeting opportunities.

Cohen said that, as interest builds in this product from advertisers, Sky Media is likely to offer more categories. When Search Behaviour was first mooted internally as a business proposition at Sky Media, the business considered launching with 12 categories.

He added: “What we’re now doing is listening to incoming demand, understanding what kind of areas people are interested in, and looking at the next tranche of categories. That might be something completely different, or it might be a subcategory, but we’re kind of at that [demand] to work out what we do next.”

Further ‘targeting things’ to come from Sky Media

Cohen suggested that advertisers, ranging from big spending TV advertisers to challenger brands or smaller, new-to-TV businesses, could find the service useful.

“You’ve got big agencies and the big advertisers who are looking to do something new and looking to be more efficient with their big spend. Times have been tough at the moment; efficiencies and effectiveness are all the more important.”

Search behaviour habits can be combined with more than 1,000 AdSmart attributes to refine campaigns, such as postcodes, or an advertiser’s own first party data. For example, an insurance company could target people who are actively searching for holidays or flights and further refine this to those looking at beach, sightseeing or ski holidays in a specific area of the country.

Cohen added: “We’re pretty lucky at Sky Media that we’ve got teams focused on the bigger agencies, we’ve got teams focused of smaller and independent agencies, and we’ve got a reasonably sized team [of about 60 people] with boots on the ground, going out and dealing with small clients direct and small agencies that would otherwise never been on the radar of a big, national broadcaster and would think ‘why would I want to go and spend money there on the basis that you’re not going to be able to reach the people I want to reach?’

“What search behaviour does, on top of the rest of targeting that we can do in this addressable space, enables both broader campaigns for bigger agencies and smaller local or smaller niche advertisers to really be able to reach who they want to reach and drive a decent return on their investment.”

Cohen also hinted at further “targeting things” that would be launched later this year. “We are constantly looking and developing new forms of targeting within the addressable space and new formats as well, to help drive that kind of growth for people,” he said.

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