The Great Bid-ish Bake Off: ACR Vendors, Ranked

February 24, 2023

Effective advertising can be boiled down to one overarching goal: reach the right people at the right time with the right message.

Simple, right? Not quite. An unending list of targeting options can make narrowing in on your audience anything but a cake walk. Geotargeting, microtargeting, occupational targeting, interest and engagement targeting – the ingredients are seemingly endless.

But what if there was a way to let consumers do the heavy lifting for you – and tell you which message they needed to see next?

Enter: Automatic Content Recognition (ACR). Unlike the traditional digital targeting options listed above, ACR doesn’t target viewers based on who they are, but rather what they watch.

ACR feeds off technology built into Smart TVs, identifying the content audiences consume at home or at work based on audio or visual signals. ACR isn’t a new technology, but advertisers have struggled to scale it in previous years. Widespread adoption of the latest tech-enabled Smart TVs has finally made it a meaningful targeting option for many campaigns.

For advertisers, there are two main use cases for ACR: First, it can be used to identify which members of an audience have not seen your ad unit, and target them with additional spots to build incremental reach. Second, it can be used to identify members of  an audience who have seen a competitor’s ad unit, and target them with your own ad unit – a move known as competitive conquesting. 

Whether a political candidate looking to get the edge on their opponents or a Fortune 500 brand working to expand in a competitive consumer market – ACR is a powerful tool for advertisers to do more with less.

The Chefs
PLUS partnered with three vendors in the political and advocacy digital advertising space.

The Ingredients
Each ‘chef’ was given the same budget, flight dates and creative for the campaign bake off.

The Results
With this bakeoff, the judges (our team) were focused on the following:

Disclaimer: The judges were tough.

Contestant 1:
Contestant 1 reached the highest number of unique users, but with a lower average completion rate. With a slightly lower CPM, Contestant 1 could have out-baked the competition and ushered in a competitive cost-per-completed view. But high costs and low completions priced this competitor beyond the competition.

Contestant 2:
Contestant 2 was a close second in terms of total users reached, and boasted the highest completion rate of all contestants. With middle of the road rates, they were able to usher in the lowest average cost-per-user reached AND cost-per-completed view.

Contestant 3:
Contest 3 fell behind in terms of users reached, resulting in the highest average cost-per-user reached – even with the cheapest rates of the bunch. Strong average completion rates translated to a competitive cost-per-completed view, but reaching 10% fewer users than the competition didn’t write a winning recipe.

And The Winner Is… 

Contestant 2 captivated our hearts (and stomachs) with impactful reach alongside competitive rates and quality inventory. They topped the leaderboard with the lowest average cost-per-user reached AND the lowest average cost-per-completed second – a winning combination for any political, advocacy, or brand campaign.

Does ACR sound like a useful tool for you? Reach out! We’ll make sure you’re getting quality performance at a quality rate – so you can have your cake and eat it, too.