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Interactive smart TV ads make major leap with Nielsen’s automatic content recognition

How audiences watch and consume TV continues to change with the times. For advertisers looking to stay ahead of the game, Nielsen and its partners are offering a new solution.

In September, the ratings and measurement company announced partnerships with Connekt and Ensequence, two of the top providers of interactive television advertising. The deals will enable both to utilize Nielsen’s automatic content recognition technology.

ACR was created by Gracenote, a global tech company that Nielsen acquired in February. It powers 25 million Smart TVs across eight worldwide brands. According to AdWeek, ACR can “quickly collect personalized data as well as determine what content is being played on specific devices without any input from viewers.”

“Opportunities to enhance TV advertising with interactivity are limitless,” Kelly Abcarian, SVP, Product Leadership for Nielsen, said in a statement. “The beauty of Gracenote’s Video ACR technology is that it can recognize any live, on-demand or pre-recorded content and advertising that appears on the TV, and trigger interactive overlays that harness the full potential of connected televisions.

“The partnerships with Connekt and Ensequence will help consumer brands, major networks and content producers realize the value of real-time content recognition to engage users and drive greater ROI for their linear TV campaigns,” she added.

ACR enhances the ad experience for viewers by improving targeting capability. It identifies what’s being watched then assists in personalizing the ad experience for viewers. Once a traditional advertisement is identified, Connekt and Ensequence can deliver an interactive graphic overlay that works alongside it.

AdWeek was able to score a first-hand peek of how interactive ads work with ACR. Here is what they saw:

“In an exclusive demonstration, Gracenote showed how a coffee brand can promote geotargeted deals based on where the viewer lives. Consumers simply use their smart TV remote to type in a cell number and then a coupon is sent to the phone. Other brands, including a major soda company, have used location-based targeting. One automaker also employed additional interactive elements such as a scroll to showcase customized features.”

As far as the future is concerned, interactive ads powered by ACR are still undergoing major developments and improvements. As a result, they may not immediately become industry standard when it comes to television advertising. They are, however, a fresh and innovative way of keeping streaming TV audiences engaged during commercial breaks.

How interactive ads enhanced by ACR perform and what kind of return advertisers see from them early on are key factors to watch. The TV consumption habits of younger generations will also be worth monitoring. Since Millennial and Generation Z viewers watch television much differently than their older cohorts, interactive TV ads have the potential to become a critical part of many brands’ media planning strategies in the coming years.

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