Comscore launches dedicated programmatic targeting unit Proximic

Comscore is leaning into data and targeting to boost the value of programmatic campaigns with the launch of a dedicated business unit, Proximic by Comscore, focused squarely on programmatic targeting.

Proximic, a company focused on contextual capabilities, was acquired by Comscore in 2015 and has since expanded on its technology to deliver real-time audience and content targeting segments.  Now Comscore is doubling down on an area outside of measurement that, according to Proximic’s new managing director Rachel Gantz, is becoming an increasingly key and strategic focus alongside the continued growth of programmatic.

With the launch, Gantz confirmed Comscore is adding to the Proximic team, although Comscore declined to disclose the size of the new business unit or number of employees.

As to why the time is right to launch the new unit, Gantz, who has been working on the programmatic side of Comscore’s business after originally starting on the consumer insights side, told Fierce Video that “there’s a perfect storm in the industry right now.”

“Signal loss, and the massive changes in the industry, from a privacy regulation standpoint have really all come together at this moment” forcing the industry to be more innovative and stringent when it comes to aspects like data quality and accuracy, she said in an interview.

Proximic by Comscore is looking to address signal loss with a suite of ID-based and advanced contextual targeting solutions accessible through integrations with ad platform partners including Basis Technologies, LiveRamp, SXM Media’s AdsWizz, Xandr’s Invest DSP, and Yahoo!, among others.

As it relates to signal loss, Gantz noted that while third-party cookie deprecation is still a ways off, she said in some cases even the majority of programmatic impressions available for advertisers no longer have an ID associated with them. Meaning “any advertiser who is only doing ID-based targeting is missing out on a substantial component of the available programmatic inventory,” she said.

So a mainstay of targeting, using only one tactic based on IDs is “no longer likely to be a sufficient way to reach the goal that any advertiser is going for to reach their target audience.”

And within its new business unit, Gantz said Comscore is marrying different data innovations to help advertisers reach their full goal: the suite combines ID-based targeting tactics that the industry knows and trusts – while complementing them with ID-less tactics that take advantage of some newer AI and contextual technologies.

Tie that in with audience data assets from the Comscore measurement business, and Gantz said the combo enables a fresh look at delivering on audiences but in a contextually delivered way that’s not reliant on IDs and also able to provide scale for advertisers.

Users of the products will have access to extensive ID-based segments, over 2,600 predictive, ID-less audiences and content-level tools.

CTV a growing compontent of programmatic targeting 

While the new Proximic by Comscore solutions span mediums (meaning across desktop, mobile, CTV, podcasting and social), Gantz acknowledged that CTV “is definitely a core growing component of that.”

And integrations with DSP, DMP and SSPs are key to bringing the solutions to market, she noted, as programmatic has shifted further towards CTV and video inventory – a trend that is accelerating the need for more innovative programmatic targeting solutions.

“The CPMs on the streaming, programmatic inventory are not cheap,” Gantz noted. “And advertisers are rightfully holding us to a higher standard on making sure that the solutions they’re planning are actually going to deliver it.”

As programmatic becomes a bigger part of the CTV sphere, Gantz also sees a big trend towards performance-based viewpoints, in contrast to connected TV advertising that has up until now been a little more awareness and branding-oriented. With a greater emphasis on performance, it’s one of the ways that Proximic can bring advantages she said, allowing advertisers to dig into custom capabilities like custom streaming audience or performance based on website visitation, for custom audiences applied to big screen content.

“We're putting a lot of emphasis is on this, the marriage of the ID based and ID-less audiences and being able to apply them to things like CTV,” she noted. That also includes doing a better job of the ability to customize and make it available quickly, with Comscore touting a one-day turnaround to clients.

“So it’s all about the holistic view of the consumer and bringing those audiences to advertisers, where they want to be activating on them, against the inventory they want to be activating on,” she added.

Standards gap in measurement vs targeting

Proximic has pretty substantial adoption across buyside clients already with existing capabilities, and Gantz is expecting and hopeful for growth (without disclosing specifics) with the new business unit as it introduces newer services such as custom segments and the launch of a self-service platform.

And while programmatic targeting reflects an area outside of Comscore’s core measurement focus, Gantz explained that the company thinks there is a convergence happening of targeting and measurement – particularly in the way advertisers act from a planning, transacting and measurement standpoint.  She emphasized that in no way is the new unit indicative of Comscore taking its foot off the gas in a traditional measurement  – in fact the opposite, saying it makes the measurement aspect and transparency component that the industry is held accountable for even more important.

“It’s now just giving advertisers the ability to use the consistent data, and then be able to apply that as they’re transacting and being able to reach those audiences,” she noted.

Being a part of the larger Comscore business also benefits targeting capabilities – as the company sees a gap between expectations for measurement solutions versus targeting. One thing Comscore’s observed in the industry, according to Gantz, “is that the bar and the standards associated with data quality, data accuracy and performance of data in the measurement world is far, far higher than it is in the targeting world.”

So a benefit for Proximic by Comscore is the ability to leverage Comscore’s streaming, linear TV and digital data assets in the targeting realm to bring standards associated with things like data hygiene and methodologies that may be lacking currently.

“We’re able to raise the bar for those areas when it comes to targeting, which is something that we’re really excited about, and we think is frankly, unique for our business,” Gantz said.