Digital video from a buyer’s perspective

Today, when planning digital video for a client, one of two teams within the agency takes the lead; TV planners or digital planners. The thought process around how the perfect plan should be executed varies greatly from one team to the other and has a big impact on publishers, how campaigns are deployed, and what technologies should be utilized or – more specifically – can be utilized, as capabilities differ from platform to platform.

Let’s discuss these perspectives in more detail.

The TV planner

TV planners come from a background of looking through the lens of household reach. They consider Nielsen ratings as the currency that defines success of the campaign.


Reach and frequency optimization among a target age or demographic is paramount. When planning digital video as a compliment to TV – usually to reach those elusive cord cutters – they want to include instream video and/or connected TV in their plan. When doing so, they are thinking about household reach, the living room, and largely messaging to a target audience adjacent to programming that mirrors the TV plan. This approach naturally limits the scope of the digital buy to large format video players, screens 40 inches or bigger, and long-form content.

Mobile is a stretch for the TV compliment, as the screen experience is unpredictable and the content consumed is typically snackable; short-form is more appropriate for a seven second Vine versus a 30 second spot, not to mention the differences between app and the mobile Web.

The digital planner

Digital planners think about the brand’s need to access and target specific audiences, regardless of where they are. Once a target is identified, they want to connect with them throughout their digital journey.


Therefore, they take an omnichannel planning approach and work to deliver a video message on any screen, within the parameters of the plan. They look to leverage each channel’s unique capabilities, taking full advantage of the near 100 percent viewability of CTV and mobile full-screen experiences and show the fluidity of audience segments from device to device.

This approach maximizes scale, creates impact for the brand, and showcases the sophistication of digital technology. Another key component is the tie back to attribution and the ability to link creative to immediate actions the consumer can take to purchase or engage with the brand’s products or services.

Publisher impact

When sellers or programmatic connections are made to the buyer, it is extremely important to know who is buying and for what purpose. We can’t simply assume that the digital agency is going to be omnichannel focused; there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to media plans.


So like any good seller, listen and ask intelligent questions about the goals and objectives of the campaign to identify the mindset of the buyer. By understanding whether the buy is focused on TV extension or to drive performance, you will quickly determine if you should showcase your all-access video platform approach or deliver only an FEP or CTV set of assets.

In conclusion

Should every device be bought in a silo? Linear TV isn’t bought based on the manufacture of the TV, nor by its delivery mechanism – satellite, cable, or antenna. So should digital be any different? How do you think digital video should be bought? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Article and homepage images via Flickr.

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