How Video Gamers’ Media Habits Changed During Quarantine

May 19, 2020 in Blog

gamer media habits

As COVID-19 spread across the globe and many in the U.S. were directed to shelter at home, people’s media consumption habits changed significantly. Most listened to fewer podcasts but watched a lot more TV, for example – especially streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Prime.

But one group in particular, video game enthusiasts, had a unique behavioral response to the virus outbreak that we decided to investigate further. By leveraging our ACR capabilities, which are made possible through our parent company Viant’s partnerships with Gracenote and Inscape, we were able to analyze video game players’ TV consumption and game-playing time before the COVID-19 outbreak and compare it to what happened after.

Here’s what we found:

TV Time Out

Before COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic, video game enthusiasts watched a lot of live TV; according to our analysis, between Feb. 20 and March 11, they watched an impressive 1.6 billion minutes of television. As video game players are also often sports fans, they watched a lot of ESPN’s SportsCenter, as well as live sports like the NBA, NCAA basketball and PGA golf at high numbers.

However, that soon changed. Between March 12 and March 29, video game players’ viewership of SportsCenter dropped by 28%, and total minutes watching live TV dipped to 1.1 billion. However, they began to stream more OTT content, especially movies.

Gaming Growth

It won’t come as a surprise that gamers have spent more time playing since the COVID-19 pandemic began. One title has led the way: Fortnight. Video game enthusiasts increased their time spent playing Fortnight by an incredible 475% between March 12 and March 29.

In addition, a number of sports titles jumped in popularity immediately following the cancelation of the remainder of the NBA season and the March Madness tournament. Most notably, play of NBA2K increased almost 30%, while more than 40,000 households re-engaged with NBA2K18. FIFA 20, a game popular with soccer fans, also saw its playing time rise significantly.

Get to Know Gamers

Our data analysis shows that, in addition to being sports fans, video game enthusiasts also spend a lot on food (especially fast food), frequently download music (mostly hip-hop) and watch horror movies at high rates.

Through Adelphic, marketers can reach gamers by activating across different types of publishers based on their current consumption habits and stay connected with them across all of their devices as their attention shifts.

Interested in learning more about how to target and reach video game enthusiasts with the right messages at the right time? Request a demo today.

Q&A with WideOrbit’s Programmatic Linear TV Expert

May 5, 2020 in Blog

programmatic linear TV

Our Q&A series shines a spotlight on the biggest challenges, questions and trends in the programmatic marketplace with commentary from industry experts, clients and partners.

Today’s Q&A is with Mike Zinsmeister, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at WideOrbit, a technology solution that connects advertisers with linear television audiences.

We asked Zinsmeister to break down the benefits of programmatic linear TV, the kinds of agencies and brands that should leverage it and what the future of the medium might look like.

Q: What benefits does programmatic bring to linear television?

For TV stations, programmatic reduces the number of people and resources required to transact, which reduces the time it takes and the potential for error, which ultimately also reduces costs. Instead of going from person to person to person, with back-and-forth manual negotiation and inputting of orders, etc., the entire transaction happens system-to-system, eliminating the need for rekeying that often leads to errors.

Automation also opens the door for new advertisers who haven’t used linear programmatic before. There are many digital-first organizations that would love to buy TV, but they don’t have the experience or the buying systems in place. Programmatic linear tools can intuitive, very easy to use, and make TV accessible – for the first time, for many advertisers.

Traditional, direct brands can now use TV as reach extension for their digital campaigns. Instead of only doing hyper-targeted, addressable digital advertising, they can couple it with the broad reach and brand-safe frequency of television (and radio), and at a much more efficient cost.

Q: Who should consider adding Programmatic Linear to their media plans?

Who can benefit from programmatic linear? Well, you name it. Direct brands can use it. DSPs can use it as reach extension for their digital. People who have been buying other forms of media – local print ads, bus stop ads, whatever – but who always wanted to get into TV, well, now they can.

And that opens up the whole market. It also creates an opportunity to offer multimedia campaigns, to package TV spots with digital ads for on-demand video, for example. Certain media forms or outlets do certain things really well. Television and radio are great at reach and frequency. Here’s the right message, to the right people, the right number of times. People buy after they see or hear that ad four, five, six times. That’s really expensive to do if you’re doing it with an addressable, targeted ad. But it’s relatively easy, a much more cost-effective, to do using television.

Q: What stands out about WideOrbit’s partnership with Adelphic?

Adelphic is ahead of the curve. WideOrbit has partnerships with a handful of DSPs but they target primarily large agencies. The Adelphic DSP is great for small-to-medium sized agencies as well, representing brands who can realize huge benefits from improved access to local TV advertising.

Look at it this way – anyone can buy a network TV ad. If, for example, you’re McDonald’s, you’ve got restaurants in every city in the United States. When you want to advertise Big Macs, you can simply buy advertising on one of the national networks. You pay a lot of money, but you hit the entire country.

Now, let’s look at a restaurant group with franchises in just 75 or 100 of the 208 Demographic Metropolitan Areas (DMAs). If they go with the fastest way and buy network advertising, then half the markets that they’re advertising in don’t have a restaurant. They’re just wasting their money.

But if they try to negotiate local TV in the 100 markets that they want, and let’s say there’s an average of five television stations in every market, that’s 90 x 5 = 450 television stations. That means negotiating the rate, getting an order together, sending the order, etc., 450 times. It can literally take months to manage that on the local level.

Advertisers are left with two options: throw away half their money on network advertising or spend months and months on individual buys at the local level.

Programmatic through Adelphic provides a third, much more viable option. An advertiser or agency can go in and say, “these are the stations we want, these are the time periods we want, and those correlate with these specific programs that index well with our target demographic.” They know those stations and programs reach their target customers, so they place the order. The ad runs, they get the results, they get the invoice, all in a fraction of the time and much more cost-effectively.

Q: Looking ahead, how do you see the future of programmatic linear TV changing?

 As buy-side and sell-side systems of all sizes collaborate more openly, we’ll radically truncate the entire process, increasing transaction speed but also improving the speed at which results are returned. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to get the same programming, but you’ll be able to target it better, buy it faster and you’ll see faster results, making it less expensive overall. And when a catalyst like COVID-19 is added to the mix, people start working harder to figure out how to buy and sell advertising more efficiently and do it remotely.

As a result, I think you’ll see programmatic buying beginning to catch fire very soon. It won’t eliminate traditional buying, but it will become a significant segment, especially as primarily digital advertisers catch on to the ease and effectiveness of programmatic TV buying.

To hear more from WideOrbit about what marketers need to understand programmatic linear TV, click here.

Click here to learn more about Adelphic’s programmatic linear TV solution.

What Marketers Need to Know About Programmatic Linear TV Advertising

May 4, 2020 in Blog

By Mike Zinsmeister, EVP & CRO, WideOrbit

programmatic linear TV

Because it’s so new to many, there’s a lot of confusion around programmatic linear TV advertising in the marketplace. To clear things up, we asked Mike Zinsmeister, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at our partner WideOrbit, to explain what today’s marketers need to understand about buying television ads programmatically.

First, it’s important to first define programmatic, because it means different things for different mediums. For digital, programmatic often means real-time bidding on what is, effectively, infinite inventory. For linear TV programmatic, buyers are competing for limited inventory, so it’s less about finding any impressions, and instead about securing the best inventory for a client, in the most efficient way.

The biggest challenge associated with local TV’s premium, fraud-free, geo-targeted inventory is simply the time historically required to transact it. Realistically, the time and expense required to transact TV is significant, and compared to easy-access mediums like digital, its broad reach, effectiveness and overall value are diminished when weighed against those transactional costs.

What programmatic really offers is workflow automation. It makes it faster, easier and more transparent to transact linear TV. The entire process, from negotiation to order reporting, is accomplished in a fraction of the time.

If marketers understand the immense value that linear TV offers, and if the industry helps by automating the transactional process to improve efficiencies and reduce discrepancies, we’ll enable more effective, balanced campaigns that leverage the unique strengths of both linear and digital mediums.

Basically, then, the three biggest benefits of programmatic for marketers are:

Accessibility: Historically, to purchase valuable and effective linear TV inventory, a buyer needed specific buying systems and a deep understanding of the approach to avail requests, negotiations, stewardship and posting processes. The complexity of that buying process created a barrier to entry for many brands. Our programmatic platforms have effectively helped eliminate those barriers, both by automating the process and through integrations with agency buying systems and DSP’s such as Adelphic, making TV accessible to new brands and marketers.

Targeting: The concept of broadcast, or one message to many people, has always been an efficient way to reach a wide audience, for a reasonable cost. However, it has also typically lacked the ability to compete for the addressable buys enabled by digital, (albeit at a much higher cost). That has changed since we now offer tools that allow a buyer to find a middle ground via targeted advertising, using data to determine which programs are best suited for their brands, indexing at or well above the average and providing a more cost-effective buy than was previously possible.

Attribution: The reporting piece is the next thing marketers will see tremendous value from. Programmatic provides specific data that increases the value of TV to buyers, not only in the planning phase but to gauge effectiveness throughout the campaign. We provide data the same day a spot runs, so marketers can correlate when the ad ran with the sales or clicks that resulted, allowing them to evaluate a campaign’s performance in-flight. This allows them to better assign “credit,” or attribution, for the results each medium drives, regardless of where the ultimate sale happens.

To learn more about the kinds of brands and agencies that can benefit from leveraging programmatic linear TV, click here to read our full Q&A with Mike Zinsmeister.

To learn more about Adelphic’s programmatic linear TV solution for marketers, click here.

How Advertisers Can Reach March Madness Fans Despite Canceled Tournament

March 25, 2020 in Blog

Every year, the NCAA Tournament provides advertisers a great opportunity to reach consumers when they’re locked into their TV screens and online brackets. Every year, that is, except 2020. Like every other major sports league or event scheduled to occur this spring, the tournament has been canceled because of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) concerns.

Estimates suggest advertisers would have spent over a billion dollars this year to get their messages in front of March Madness viewers, significantly more than they historically spend on the PGA, MLB, NHL and college football playoffs, approaching estimates for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Fortunately, advertisers can still reach this coveted group of consumers – they just need to know how they’re diverting their attention.

ACR analysis from our parent company Viant shows that NCAA fans are shifting their viewing habits this spring to channels including FOX News, CNN and MSNBC, likely to keep up to date with the latest news about Coronavirus. But they’re also seeking entertainment on channels like HGTV, Food Network and A&E. Our analysis also shows tournament viewers are tuning into programs including NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight and, for some lighter programming, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in place of college basketball while still spending time with ESPN’s SportsCenter to capture any possible sports news that may be out there.

In addition, examining other data from Viant, which consists of more than 250 million registered users, we looked at some other TV programs that March Madness viewers are most likely to watch going forward in the absence of college basketball games and without brackets to fill out.

No Sports? No Problem – There’s Still Something to Root For
In the absence of competition on the court, March Madness viewers are likely to be found rooting for their favorites on other kinds of televised competition. They’re 82% more likely to tune into The Masked Singer and 80% more likely to watch The Bachelor.

In the absence of sports, game shows are also appealing to March Madness fans, who are 42% more likely to be found guessing along with the competitors on Family Feud.

They’re into What’s Popular, No Matter the Topic
In 2019, an average of 10.5 million viewers tuned into each March Madness game, according to Nielsen, underscoring just how popular the tournament is with sports fans and non-sports fans alike. When there are no games to be played, however, tournament fans turn their attention to other popular network TV content.

As such, hit NBC drama This is Us is popular with March Madness fans, who are 84% more likely to watch it. March Madness viewers are also 63% more likely to watch CBS’s God Friended Me and 47% more likely to watch NCIS: Los Angeles, also on CBS.

Live TV Still Appeals
While there won’t be any live action on the field or the court for a while, there’s still plenty of live TV to enjoy, and March Madness viewers are more likely to be found watching a number of live political and news shows. That includes the fourth hour of the Today show, which they’re 76% more likely to watch, and Tucker Carlson Tonight, which they’re 61% more likely to tune into.

Interested in learning more about how Adelphic’s access to first-party data helps marketers create a more informed strategy – and reach audiences where they’re paying attention? We break it down right here.

*The above information is based off of the Viant Total Graph Indexing Formula, which calculates matched profiles and data providers.

Hulu Fans Eat Way More Pizza Than Netflix Streamers, and Other Insights

February 20, 2020 in Blog

The number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers in the U.S. is expected to climb as high as 40 million by 2021. And as that figure increases, so does the number of Americans who subscribe to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

Ad-supported streaming providers like Hulu give advertisers a way to reach those who aren’t paying for cable TV. But what type of audiences are actually watching Hulu? And how do they differ from those tuning in to Hulu’s biggest competitor, Netflix?

Using data from Adelphic’s parent company Viant, which consists of more than 250 million registered users, we analyzed two groups of streaming service subscribers: those who only watch Netflix and those who only watch Hulu.

Here’s what we found:

Hulu Loves a Pizza Party

Hulu viewers are big supporters of the nation’s third-largest pizza chain. They’re 90% more likely to enjoy a slice from Little Caesars. In fact, Hulu viewers are all about a few of the country’s biggest pizza chains – they’re more likely than Netflix viewers to eat at Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s as well.

Netflix Fans Seek Sandwiches

Hulu viewers might be pining for pizza, but those who prefer Netflix have a passion for Panera. Netflix viewers are 88% more likely to enjoy the sandwiches, salads and soups at the fast-casual bakery café than Hulu viewers. Sandwiches are often top of mind for Netflix viewers, who also are 37% more likely to eat at Jimmy John’s.

Nissan’s Nice for Hulu Viewers

Japanese automaker Nissan is the brand of choice for car-shopping Hulu viewers. They’re 31% more likely to purchase Nissan’s Maxima sedan, as well as 26% more likely to purchase an Altima, another of Nissan’s popular mid-size models.

Across the Board, it’s Ford for Neflix Fans

Netflix viewers are more likely than Hulu streamers to be found behind the wheel of a Ford. They’re 56% more likely to purchase the iconic Mustang sportscar, as well as 24% more likely to purchase the eco-friendly Fusion. While both Netflix and Hulu viewers like the F150 truck, Netflix viewers are 7% more likely to drive one.

Netflix Viewers Need News

Host John Oliver is a big hit with Netflix viewers, who are nearly five times as likely to watch HBO’s Sunday night satirical news program as Hulu viewers. In fact, not only are Hulu viewers significantly less likely to watch Last Week Tonight than Netflix viewers, they’re also less likely to tune into another of HBO’s news shows, Real Time With Bill Maher.

Hulu’s Hot for Ballers

Hulu subscribers are less likely than Netflix viewers to tune into HBO in general, as Netflix viewers are 67% more likely than the general public to pay for HBO. So … what are Hulu viewers watching on HBO? They’re glued to wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the comedy-drama Ballers, which they’re 84% more likely to watch than Netflix viewers.

Adelphic’s access to first-party data gives marketers a transparent and holistic view of their audience profiles, which helps them to create a more informed strategy and smarter media investment. Interested in learning more about Adelphic’s audience-targeting capabilities? Click here.

*The above information is based off of the Viant IMP Indexing Formula, which calculates matched profiles and data providers.

African-American Millennials: 7 Stats for Black History Month

February 6, 2020 in Blog

African-American Millennials have a large and growing spending power; total African-American spend is projected to reach $1.4 trillion this year, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, a 275% increase since 1990.

And yet, it’s not enough for marketers to speak to just Millennials or African-Americans when looking to connect with this influential group. Instead, marketers must reach African-American Millennials in customized ways that speak to them directly.

In recognition of Black History Month, we’re calling attention to seven noteworthy stats from our research paper The Marketer’s Guide to African-American Millennials. With insights like the below, marketers can reach African-American Millennials with the personalized messaging they have come to expect and build brand affinity.

1. African-American Millennials make up 26% of the total African-American population and 14% of all Millennials – and they have a growing spending power as they hit their late 20s and 30s.

2. Like most Millennials, African-American Millennials are big fans of online retailer Amazon. They visit Amazon nearly as often as they visit Target, JCPenney and Kohl’s combined.

3. The global color cosmetics industry is worth an estimated $48.3 billion, and African-American Millennials are heavy buyers. They are 24% more likely to be higher spenders on cosmetics and toiletries than other Millennials, and spend an average of $111.82 per quarter at cosmetics retailer Sephora.

4. African-American Millennials support TV shows and networks that feature celebrities who share their ethnic background. As such, they are 230% more likely to watch Power, 74% more likely to watch Empire and 40% more likely to watch Blackish than other Millennials.

5. When African-American Millennials stream OTT content, Hulu is the provider of choice. They’re 13% more likely to subscribe to Hulu Plus than other Millennials

6. Salty snacks are a favorite of African-American Millennials, who are 46% more likely than other Millennials to graze on them. They’re 78% more likely to buy Ruffles and 75% more likely to buy Cheetos.

7. Despite overall decreases in the number of Millennials on the road, driving has actually increased in the last decade for African-American Millennials who earn less than $50,000 per year. Most African-American Millennials (64%) fit that qualification, and they’re 57% more likely to drive a Cadillac than other Millennials.

To discover more about African-American Millennials’ habits and partialities, and to learn about how marketers can connect with this coveted group of insiders and spenders, download our white paper here.

Q&A with IRI’s CBD and Cannabis Expert

December 5, 2019 in Blog


Our Q&A series shines a spotlight on the biggest challenges, questions and trends in the programmatic marketplace with commentary from industry experts, clients and partners.

Today’s Q&A is with Larry Levin, Executive Vice President of Consumer and Shopper Marketing at data and insights company IRI.

We asked Levin to break down everything marketers need to know about the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Q: How big is the current cannabis market?

 In a word: Blossoming! IRI’s cannabis research partner BDS Analytics projects a global market of approximately $45 billion in total cannabinoid sales by 2024. For 2019, we’re estimating sales of $14 billion. In our CPG world, we see growth of 2-3% if we’re lucky; the opportunity for cannabinoids is unprecedented.

Q:  How can marketers best approach the challenge of educating consumers about cannabis?

As products move mainstream, education is needed throughout every level of the consuming landscape. In recent research published BDS Analytics, it’s clear that the vast majority of consumers in legal states ― where you would think confusion would be less clouded ― is still extremely confused.

BDSA’s research shows that over half of all respondents either don’t know the difference between CBD and THC or are wrong in their perceptions of what each is. While it’s down from 63% nearly a year ago, it clearly shows how much confusion rests in the market and is a signal that education is needed and could be most critical at the “final decision point” as retailers have to be sure their staff is aware of market differences between THC and CBD. In fact, the survey results from BDSA also show that consumers believe that any product that contains hemp will have an “altering experience,” which is simply not the case.

Q: Who is the typical cannabis consumer – if one exists?

Stereotypes need to be trashed when it comes to the mindset of who a typical cannabis consumer might be. Consumers mirror the U.S. population with young and old, the haves and the have nots, as well as urban and rural consumers. If there’s any demographic bent toward hemp use, it’s that it skews a bit more male. And hemp users are finding the products provide great relief for a number of ailments from anxiety to depression to pain and stress, which poses a threat to the over-the-counter medication market.

Q: What do marketers need to know about the regulations and laws regarding advertising cannabis products?

We are still at the very early stages of marketing for any cannabis products. As with alcohol, legislation varies from state to state, and even with counties and cities within those states. Legislation is changing and will continue for some time, so marketers will need to do their homework.

Social responsibility should be at the forefront of importance in messaging and its impact, especially with all of the press around the vape market and recent deaths. It’s apparent from our consumer data that education is clearly needed, and first and foremost it could be educating the consumers about the differences between THC and CBD as leading cannabis products available today.

Q: U.S. cannabis retail ad spend increased 24% in 2018 to $4.12 million, most of which came from out-of-home advertising, according to eMarketer. What is it about OOH that is particularly appealing to cannabis brands?

It’s a testimony to the “out of home” nature and active lifestyles that a number of consumers are engaging in, including exercise, living outdoors, and attending social events. Consumers’ ability to easily acquire THC and CBD products in legal markets gives them alternatives to consider that were not available a few short years ago.

Q: Data has become a key factor in driving growth in every vertical. What role can data play in the cannabis industry?

Data is simply “an ingredient” to understanding this market. Data continues to show how consumers are gaining more understanding and increasing their positive consideration to trying CBD and THC products. As the market becomes more mainstream in consumer adoption, it will become more mainstream in the general CPG market. Data will help quantify the size of the opportunity and where marketing and sales efforts should be concentrated. And, while more than half of today’s market connects sales through dispensaries, the channel will see much greater competition in the coming years as CBD goes mainstream. BDSA and IRI predict that in less than five years the dispensary channel will see share shrink to 25% of the market even though channel sales are forecasted to grow 2.5 times their current rate, showing that the market will be more competitive as consumers purchase “here, there and everywhere!” Data will be at the forefront to understand the who, where, how and why to win in this incredibly opportunistic market; it’s the most disruptive change we have seen in CPG in years, if not ever!

Q: What is unique about IRI’s partnership with our DSP Adelphic?

While this doesn’t speak to cannabis currently, IRI’s ability to understand the consumer and create activation plans is a perfect complement to Viant’s measurement of its 1.2 billion registered users; we have a matched universe of 83% unique profiles. An additional benefit is we can track offline dollar sales on a weekly basis to drive campaign optimization across a variety of tactics, including device delivery, shopping behaviors, audiences, inventory or campaign creative.

For those ready to really dig in and understand marketplace trends, I recommend a webinar I recently conducted with BDS Analytics just on this topic.

Q: What are the terms marketers should know when talking about the Cannabis market?

Check out our Cannabis “dictionary” here.