Unruly’s Paul Gubbins Explains Why It Pays For Advertisers To Get ‘Emotional’

Unruly wants to help brands get in their feelings.

The video-focused ad tech company, owned by News Corp, creates audience segments based on multiple data sets, including survey and "emotional" biometric data.

The company works with agencies and advertisers to relay how certain audiences react to their campaigns. This ultimately helps brands understand what kinds of audiences are most likely to engage with their content.

“We know the pain points that the global publisher is going through and the type of investment we can put back into our technology,” Unruly UK programmatic lead Paul Gubbins told AdExchanger.

AdExchanger caught up with Gubbins to learn more about the company’s emotional database and what it means for advertisers.

AdExchanger: What is emotional data?

PAUL GUBBINS: For the last 10 years we've been analyzing lots of the video ad impressions that run through our system. I think the number is almost 3 trillion. We've been looking at insights in order to use those emotional signals and help us develop different audiences.

That’s one of the real key differentiators for us as a business and that's what's enabling us to get really good traction with some of the biggest advertisers in the world that are trying to figure out TV assets.

What kind of data do you extract?

We look at the basics around mood and sentiment. You can extract so many things from basic human signals that will inform an advertiser as to whether or not a particular campaign is going to resonate well with them. You can look at environment, state of mind and all of these signals that can be extracted from the types of campaigns that you put in front of them, including whether or not the messaging evokes an emotion of happiness.

How do you apply emotional data to the TV advertising business? Why is it useful?

We know audiences are transitioning and that there are very large demographic groups  that we can no longer reach by linear broadcasts. We know that they're migrating to OTT environments. The question becomes: How do we actually reach them all?

We’re using a combination of first-, second- and third-party [data] to develop a second third-party audience segment based on the emotional insights that we have. We've got different teams internally that drill into how we extract audiences, segment them into IBM Watson and pull out sites that we use.

How does this ultimately help brands?

There are a lot of perceptions of audiences that advertisers have built up over the years, and we help break down some of those stereotypes. We've done that for quite a few of the big brands that we work with.

We try to take the company's raw television assets and [tell them] if [we] think that they will resonate particularly well in one place, because it might not resonate very well in the US or in the UK due to different sentiments from the audiences [the brand is] trying to engage with.

So we look at different TV spots, break them down, and say, “Alright. It's our understanding that this part of the spot will excite the audience when they see your content, but we think you should deliver it in a particular way and change it if you're going to engage with somebody in one region versus another region.” Just applying a holistic strategy globally isn't always the best approach when you're trying to engage audiences as they move around different devices.

Does this provide a replacement for transacting on age and gender?

I fundamentally believe age and gender will always fulfill a pivotal part of advertising. But there is so much more the big brands can understand about their audiences, and publishers can understand about their audiences. Many media outlets don't have access to a lot of scaled first-party data. Not everybody is in that environment. Obviously, the big walled gardens understand, though.

Why do you think it’s important to have new standards for video?

I think it's important at this time because everybody has been waiting for linear TV budgets to enter the digital space. Historically that hasn't really been a possibility. I think now with addressable television and the rise of OTT, very quickly we're going to see some very large branding budgets starting to enter the addressable arena. And I think for that to happen and to provide the confidence that big brands and agencies need, we have to have a common framework. We need assurances from both the buy and sell sides that everybody is working to a common goal for privacy, targeting and overall inventory quality.

 

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