If you are a broadcast or cable channel and you do not know what ACR data is, you need to learn as soon as possible.
Why? Because ACR data is the key to finding your viewers on streaming TV.
So ... what is ACR?
ACR stands for Automated Content Recognition. Translation: Your smart TV is spying on you.
Smart TVs are ubiquitous nowadays. Chances are if you stream video on your TV, you are using a smart TV or a device like Roku, AppleTV, FireTV Stick, etc.
ACR is built in to the majority of these devices and the data being collected is used by digital marketers in a wide variety of ways. For example, if I was Bank of America and I wanted to make sure that my digital ad buy reached people who were not exposed to my ads on broadcast or cable, I could leverage ACR data to de-duplicate this audience. Or conversely use it to increase frequency with those exposed to the ad!
ACR data can be parsed a bunch of different ways from time spent viewing, genre choices and, listen up TV world friends, by device. ACR data can follow people off of streaming and see what you are watching on broadcast and cable.
This is really important because if I am a show or station that is promoting my show on connected TV (CTV), I want an audience I can actually convert back to linear. If you buy strictly on demo alone, then you are going to be wasting a sizable chunk of your ad budget on people who just don't watch linear.
ACR data is still "young" in the data world so it has some limitations. The audiences are segmented by data providers. Roku has the largest set of data to date because it's not only watching with the Roku devices, it's built in to many smart TVs. Samsung has their own data, and so on. These data sources are proprietary and many of the providers require you to buy the CTV ads from them to leverage their data. This means to truly have reach using ACR data you'd have to have several buys at once.
Unfortunately, ACR can't follow audiences everywhere. Netflix doesn't allow ACR data collection, for example. And a small fraction of people also shut off this data source (it's an option most people gloss over when setting up their new TV). Lastly, ACR data sets usually get too small when you layer on age targeting so your waste may come in the form of people outside your ideal demo.
But, for any advertiser trying to drive linear tune-in, ACR data is crucial for your CTV buy. With limited ad budgets, you don't want to be buying an audience that just won't convert and ACR is a great way to ensure you've got those who can.
If you are interested in talking more about CTV and data drop me a line - it's one of my favorite topics!