Smarter Advertising Choices: ITV’s Automated Contextual Targeting Tool


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In a captivating presentation at the Future of TV Advertising Global in London on December 5, ITV and Captify showcased their innovative approach to advertising by focusing on consumer emotions. The presentation, titled “Leveraging data and moments that shift consumer intent,” delved into the intricacies of targeting TV ads based on consumer search intent, unveiling new opportunities in contextual TV reveals, and providing insights into the future of data-powered TV.

At the heart of this advertising revolution is ITV’s Automated Contextual Targeting (ACT) tool, an enhanced iteration that resulted from a strategic collaboration with Captify, a search intelligence platform. The collaboration leverages Captify’s advanced contextual classification technology to precisely identify specific moments, themes, and emotional nuances within ITV programs, optimising ad targeting for advertisers.

This upgraded phase of ACT, developed by ITV’s AdLabs, is making its debut in conjunction with the DHSC Every Mind Matters campaign, a collaborative effort with OmniGOV and Wavemaker that synchronizes with World Mental Health Day. Within this initiative, ACT aims to discern emotionally uplifting or joyous moments in ITVX shows, enabling the identification of audiences more likely to be experiencing anxiety or stress. Subsequently, these viewers will be directed to the Every Mind Matters online portal.

OmniGOV is delighted to be partnering with ITV, DHSC EMM, and Wavemaker on the launch of ITV’s new ACT tool,” expressed Louise Turpin, Head of Client & Implementational Planning at OmniGOV. Turpin highlighted the tool’s ability to tap into core audience behaviours and deliver timely, supportive messages to those on their mental health journey.

Initially launched in beta last year, ACT utilizes AI technology to meticulously scan each ITVX show, categorizing every scene based on its moment, theme, or emotional context. In this upgraded version, Captify’s natural language processing and machine learning models come into play, extracting nuanced meanings from ITV program subtitle data. This collaboration facilitates the rapid expansion of the solution, making various segments accessible on a self-service basis within Planet V.

Our partnership with Captify will help advertisers get closer to moments that matter in ITVX shows with even greater scale and precision,” remarked Jayesh Rajdev, Controller of Advanced Advertising at ITV. “I’m thrilled DHSC are our launch advertiser with this important and timely campaign. Using ACT to improve resonance for mental health advertising highlights how the power of TV advertising can be used for good and makes sure that advertisers benefit.”

Beyond mental health campaigns, ITV is actively deploying ACT to manage the scheduling of the Britain Get Talking campaign. This initiative encourages every school in the country to assign unique homework, prompting young people to engage in meaningful conversations with trusted adults about challenging topics.

In essence, ITV’s focus on emotion-driven ad targeting, powered by Captify’s technological prowess, marks a pivotal shift in the landscape of TV advertising. By harnessing the nuanced power of AI and contextual data, advertisers can now craft campaigns that not only capture attention but also resonate with the emotions of their target audience, ultimately making TV advertising a more impactful and meaningful experience. As ITV continues to pioneer these advancements, the foreseeable future of data-powered TV advertising holds great promise for advertisers and viewers alike.

Amelia Waddington, Chief Product Officer at Captify, celebrated the collaboration, stating, “Bringing that ability to television through ITV’s massive content catalogue and ad platform will bring a huge boost of scale and effectiveness for ITV advertisers.” Captify’s expertise in natural language understanding is seamlessly integrated into ITV’s advertising strategy, offering a promising avenue for advertisers to connect with their audience on a deeper, more emotionally resonant level.