- Amazon is planning to run traditional, national TV ads during NFL streams this year.
- The company has been touting its unique measurement capabilities in its pitches to advertisers.
- Down the road, Amazon, YouTube and others will have an opportunity to reinvent TV advertising.
Amazon will likely one day transform the way that TV ads are delivered to consumers, using its robust pool of shopping data and its increasingly powerful set of ad technology.
It's going to take a while, to be sure. But the direction of travel is clear. For example, Amazon is already promising to help marketers figure out if their TV ads drive people to buy things on the web.
As part of its $50 million to stream 11 NFL games to Prime subscribers, Amazon has the rights to sell two minutes of ads each hour. The remainder of the ads will be delivered and sold by whichever network is also broadcasting the game at the time (CBS or NBC). In a typical NFL broadcast, that ad time is sold by local stations.
The company has been looking to line up four major sponsors, which would receive TV ads, as well as ads on Amazon.com and ads during pre- and post-game coverage. According to Reuters, Amazon had been seeking $2.8 million ad packages for the coming slate of games. Amazon is also selling some ads to advertisers for individual games.
Amazon plans to run conventional, national ads during the time it has, showing the same ads to everyone across the country. That's hardly revolutionary. But in its pitches to advertisers, Amazon has emphasized its unique measurement capabilities.
It's promising NFL sponsors that it will track how many people see their ads and then take action on Amazon.com and other sites across the web following the games. That represents a potentially powerful step forward for television advertising, and isn't something most TV networks can currently offer.
The end game for Amazon is likely delivering unique ads to different consumers based on their shopping histories, where they live, and whether they have children. Since people who watch the NFL games will have to log in to Amazon.com, Amazon will know a lot about who's watching, after all.
People in the ad industry refer to this as "dynamic" ad serving, which happens on the web all the time. Two different people visiting Yahoo.com at the same moment will often get completely different ads based on who they are, for example.
This rarely happens on TV, since most TV is not yet delivered over the web (despite the growth in streaming). But a company like Amazon would seem to have the technical chops to pull it off. Google has hinted it may do the same thing with YouTube TV once it reaches a certain scale, and Facebook is looking to insert itself in this realm as well.
Besides using the NFL commercial time to run ads, Amazon also plans to use some of that time to promote its own shows and products, said people familiar with the matter.
Of course, if this streaming experiment goes well (and there's no telling how many people will watch games on Amazon that are already available on broadcast TV) it's possible that Amazon can acquire more sports access, and being experimenting with more "dynamic" TV ads.
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