While automated content recognition (ACR) may not be new, it is becoming more widely incorporated into digital marketing strategies. As the number of consumers using smart TVs continues to grow, marketers need to fully understand what ACR is, as well as all of the different capabilities it can bring to current or future campaigns. 

What is ACR?

ACR is a way in which content is captured and identified. It can be captured across all types of TV viewing: linear, video on demand, OTT, commercials and video games. The data received provides valuable consumer insights that allows advertisers to target niche audiences, create a better experience and drive more conversions.

How Does ACR Work?

ACR technology utilizes audio, video, or watermark cues to recognize TV content, and is then marched to a source database for reference. ACR data captures key consumer behaviors associated with TV viewership, like what content is being streamed, time-shifting, and ad-skipping. Beyond that, it can also provide insights on cord-cutting and binge-watching. 

  • Audio Fingerprinting: Data is collected from connected devices through audio. In order to accomplish this, the app must be running and the user has to opt-in to data collections, which can cause the results to be limited and have gaps in data metrics. 
  • Video Fingerprinting: Data is collected directly from the user’s connected TV through visual or video capture information. It can capture all content that passes through the TV and, unlike audio, only requires that the TV be on and the user to opt-in to data collection.
  • Watermark fingerprinting: Data is collected using digital tags placed before distribution. Owners then can use the tags to track how their content is being used.

How Can ACR Be Utilized?

The data ACR provides empowers marketers to better understand and reach their unique audience, as well as customize a message that will resonate with them. Utilizing ACR also strengthens the way in which TV and digital advertising work together, providing more opportunities for second-screen advertising which results in additional OTT marketing capabilities.

Here are four ways ACR can be utilized in campaigns:

  • Content Identification: Identifying what content is being viewed
  • Content Enhancement: An interactive tool that triggers complementary content based on what the viewer is watching. This can be utilized on a second screen and can be formatted in various ways, such as trivia, polls, coupons or interactive forms.
  • Broadcast Monitoring: Provides data and when and where viewers are playing content. This tool allows advertisers to track the journey of their content.
  • Audience Measurement: Allows industry leaders to assess who is watching content in real-time, which is essential for ad pricing.

The ways in which viewers consume TV has drastically changed (and continues to change even still), but the overall love of programming has remained. Implementing data-driven tactics like ACR gives marketers access to higher quality ad space. 

Stay tuned for practical strategies for implementing ACR in your digital marketing campaigns.