Great to be sitting down with you! Tell us about SET.
MATT HILLMAN: SET [Editor: Now known as Conversant Media) is a video buying platform that connects brand advertisements with the video content their customer’s care about. We’ve built technology that organizes video into the several hundred categories such as sports, entertainment, and automotive.
The goal of this is to help agencies buy safe, relevant digital video for their brands with the scale benefits of a network.
How are advertisers & publishers making use of SET solutions?
SET: For the first time, advertisers are able to buy only the types of content their brand is interested in without wasting valuable ad dollars on low quality content that’s outside of plan. As an example, say Nike wants to target basketball videos featuring one of their many celebrity athletes.
On another network this would be impossible to do at the video level. Instead they would need to guess as to which publishers had that kind of content and hope that the network made the right decisions. Instead of guessing, SET uses technology to analyze and buy only the videos featuring basketball and the desired athletes. Beyond the simple targeting package, some advertisers want to be able to buy and measure online video as an extension to their TV buy.
Using our technology we can very easily buy clips of the exact TV shows they buy offline and provide them with Nielsen verified metrics to match their offline counterparts.
Care to share the exciting recent news about Nielsen and SET?
SET: Recently we entered into a partnership with Nielsen that will produce a variety of products to make buying online video easier for the buyer and more effective for the brand. Initially we’ve rolled out gross rating point (GRP) and brand lift reporting across all of our campaigns. The unique aspect of our relationship is that we are able to provide traditional metrics like GRPs at the content level.
The goal was to makes things easier for a planner looking to get scale by analyzing how their content is performing. There are a number of announcements to come as we work with Nielsen’s dataset.
SET has a deep understand of successful video metrics – please explain this sophisticated technology background and how it offers SET a very unique – and beneficial – feature set.
SET: SET uses a combination of cloud based infrastructure and machine learning to find and analyze content. Our system does everything from content type analysis and face recognition to natural language processing.
Instead of merely understanding the content on the page, which is the easiest information to acquire, our system watches the actual video, up to 60MM/month (Avg 4 mins). This gives us video level data, not just publisher level data and that helps our advertisers value the unit of inventory instead of the site, as they’ve had to do in the past.
Additionally, we’ve built a highly available, low-latency (~5ms) API to insure that we’re making the right decision about serving an ad before we buy the placement.
Your technology can also ‘watch’ the video content as well! Machine Learning – wow – how does this work?
SET: Machine learning or specifically the type we employ gives our systems the ability to watch video just like a human would.
As an example, we can show an algorithm football and basketball videos and it will create a model that understands the difference between the two types of content using the pixels and motion between frames as references.
It’s very similar to what the human eye does when looking at images. You know what football looks like because you’ve seen it hundreds if not thousands of times before. What gives SET the edge is that we’ve spent years training models and have recently automated a large portion of the process which enables new models to be trained very quickly.
This system does the work of about 10,000 people per month working regular shifts so it’s obviously not a human scale problem.
What are some examples of how advertisers and agencies would benefit from the insights you’re able to provide.
SET: Very simply, advertisers will be able to know what types of content they’re going to buy before paying for the campaign. This is critical when it comes to the effectiveness of a media buy but also when you’re a brand concerned with brand safety.
Most networks claim they have premium inventory but are unable to prove that it’s all premium because they don’t have the technical capacity to watch every video. We give advertisers the controls to extend their reach and the clarity into what works because we show them every single video that they purchased.
We solved brand safety for video buy building a solution for video from the ground up instead of patching an existing display solution. This means that advertisers value every unit of inventory instead of a page or a site. That increases the total number of quality impressions available to an advertiser considerably, which is good for advertisers and publishers.
Mobile is playing an increasingly large role – what trends are you seeing for mobile and SET clients?
SET: Mobile is exciting for SET but it still has a long way to go before becoming a viable platform for video. Advertisers are showing a strong demand but at the risk of waste. SET is the only solution in the space that evaluates the video content instead of the page.
This means that in a situation like mobile other providers won’t have the level of understanding about the content (in-app, player only) they’re sponsoring and that’s fairly risky for a brand.
What are some ‘pains’ are alleviated by using SET advertising options?
SET: We offer solutions that not only address our customer's needs, but our competitors aren't offering comparable solutions:
- We enable media buyers to target video not publishers, which extends reach and increases effectiveness for their brands.
- We keep brands safe by employing the only video level verification solution that watches video.
- We show media buyers and planners every single video that they purchase so that they can merchandise video better to their clients.
For the non-believers, how do you know demand for video is growing? What would you say to convince a company new to this method of advertising that they’ll likely experience positive ROI?
SET: If an agency hasn’t at least tried online video they’re missing a huge opportunity as digital video has grown dramatically in recent years with younger audiences starting to get most of their content through connected devices.
For those agencies that have tried online video but seen unimpressive performance, they should give SET a try, we can usually see measurable brand lift in a very short period of time because we’re targeting the content itself.
Additionally, many networks have sold video offerings without having a real solution in place, often buying low quality impressions that they’ve positioned as “Premium”. SET proves that every impression is quality, which establishes trust as well as performance.
Glad to have you on, and that we’re finally able to get SET featured as part of the Reel Designer interview series! What is the best way for someone to get started with SET to see if your services are a fit?
SET: Thanks so much for highlighting us!