July 16, 2014 Last Updated 7:48 am

AOL says it has secured patent for conversion tracking of TV ads

In contrast to digital, TV has had imprecise methods for attributing airings of TV ads to in-store and online sales conversions

Press Release:

SAN MATEO, Calif. – July 16, 2014 — Adap.tv, a division of AOL Platforms, today announced it has secured a key patent that advances the development of data-driven video across digital and TV. The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Adap.tv US Patent No. 8,768,770, which focuses on applying a principle, traditionally associated with digital, to television: conversion tracking.

Coupled with the methodology of Convertro, the leading provider of multi-touch attribution recently acquired by AOL, advertisers now have an unparalleled machine-learning technology platform at their disposal to precisely identify on which digital and TV environments their advertising is most effective and driving sales.

“TV is evolving; today, massive amounts of set-top box data are available for TV buyers and sellers that allows for greater ad opportunities and insights about an ad’s effectiveness,” said Brendan Kitts, Chief Scientist at Adap.tv. “We have worked over the past several years in a range of multi-million dollar, award-winning, television campaigns to perfect our automated targeting and ROI measurement techniques. We believe, evidenced by these patents and results, that our ROI measurement techniques are novel and can be used to substantially automate TV campaign optimization. The implications for TV advertisers in terms of their ability to measure quantitative sales performance, optimize, and increase their ROI are profound.”

In contrast to digital, TV has had imprecise methods for attributing airings of TV ads to in-store and online sales conversions. When an ad airs on TV, there is no cookie, like in digital, that can correlate the broadcast to an eventual sales event, and there’s no precise way to know whether those sales were driven in part to the original TV ad, let alone what particular TV airing caused it.

This offline-online dichotomy makes it extremely difficult for marketers to do basic planning, like calculating how much budget to apply towards TV, and also makes it nearly impossible to optimize TV media towards the media that is producing the highest number of conversions, among other things. In a media environment where every dollar counts, this can be incredibly wasteful.

“The industry is just in the beginning stages of applying automated, data-driven approaches to TV,” said Dan Ackerman, Senior Vice President of Programmatic TV at Adap.tv. “This patent is a recognition of the work our teams have done to develop technologies that will accelerate this shift towards more efficient TV advertising predicated on ROI and accountability. The ultimate goal is to tie TV closer together with digital, and provide a more holistic view of marketing investments across all online and offline channels.”

Additional information about Adap.tv’s conversion tracking patent can be found here: http://bit.ly/1zGqsR7

Adap.tv was granted another patent related to data-driven TV ad targeting (US 8,627,359), in January 2014 and covers the technology for automatically targeting high-probability buyers using set-top box data.

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