Automatic content recognition, or ACR, is a technology that identifies consumed audio and video content on digital devices. Though most commonly associated with smart TVs, ACR can be perused on any platform connected to the internet. It isn’t available everywhere, however, and only becomes accessible if a user opts-in to data collection and has their device turned on. More people are trading in their old television sets for smart TVs – they’ll be in 75% of American homes by 2022 – which explains why the acronym has quickly become a marketing essential. Just as the Shazam app can help a user identify a song played in a store, an ACR enabled television can identify what a user is watching on a second-by-second basis to help brands strengthen their marketing efforts. Read on to learn more about ACR and how implementing it can benefit your brand and target consumers:
What is ACR and How Does it Work?
ACR is a software that listens and absorbs to identify content. In seconds, it can determine what a user is watching and if they are using a tablet, smart TV, or mobile device. It can also label the content as linear, OOT, DVR, or VOD, and is expected to become a $5 billion business by 2021. This intelligent, highly profitable data process operates in four steps:
- Step One – Unboxing and Consent: Automatic content recognition is launched when an individual turns on a wifi powered device for the first time. Users will be faced with the option to opt-in to audio/video data collection during this initial set-up phase. They can go back and edit their decision in the future, of course, but it is often difficult to do so. Many devices will even require being set-up again in order to revert this decision.
- Step Two – Fragment Analyzation: If a user opts-in to data collection, a device provider is able to analyze small fragments of images or sounds from the content being consumed over time. This capability is embedded in millions of internet devices and gives marketers the ability to understand what kind of programs and advertisements a user gravitates towards.
- Step Three – Content Matching: These tiny samples are then processed by ACR software and uploaded to the cloud. The content is cross-referenced and matched to existing fragments, audio or video based, to allow advertisers to determine what piece of content, (think a TV show, a music video, or an advertisement,) is being viewed by a user. This process generates data about a viewer’s history and becomes identifiable to marketers via a device’s IP address.
- Step Four – Personalized Targeting: The content has been matched and the information has been shared with select advertisers. From there, marketers can link devices together to learn more about target consumers and where their interests lie. With this information, brands are able to launch individualized, cross-device marketing campaigns that increase ad visibility and consumer interest.
How Does ACR Benefit Advertisers?
ACR works hand in hand with brands by giving them a cohesive glimpse into the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. With a user’s consent, advertisers are able to understand what people are watching in-real-time and how, when, and where their ads are being consumed. Having this information about viewing habits makes it simpler for companies to target the right ads to the right people in a personalized way. And by having an attached IP address, brands are able to retarget cross-functionally to encourage more viewers, (including those who weren’t paying attention to the ad,) to gain interest in the marketed product or service. ACR also allows brands to reach those who prefer to watch tv without ads. By knowing what content these individuals are consuming, marketers gain valuable insight as to where their interests lie and where they can be advertised to best. No matter the platform, this technology is what gives advertisers the highly anticipated ability to tailor highly customized messages to households and individuals nationwide.
How Does ACR Benefit Consumers?
Those that consent to audio and video tracking are also eligible for rewards. By opting-in, users are giving advertisers the permission to deliver personalized ads to them across all approved devices. This gets rid of the unrelatable advertisements a consumer may be exposed to when watching television or scrolling through social media accounts. It makes their digital experience a unique one that caters to their hobbies and interests. It eliminates that ‘constantly being advertised to’ feeling and makes marketing feel like a normalized, seamless experience.
ACR has the power to revolutionize marketing as we know it and it will only continue to grow in popularity as more than half of US adults now own a streaming enabled television. To learn more about Digilant’s TV and video media buying capabilities, (especially when it comes to programmatic and addressable TV,) contact us here!