I love Google Maps. It’s helped me to find new places and shows me the best route, and occasionally, quietly and painlessly, saves me hours when the unexpected (well, not that unexpected!) happens. And as more and more of my fellow travellers use it, it gets progressively better and better at keeping us out of each other’s way.
If a TV ad campaign is a journey, then U.S. media buyers are still unfolding big maps and plotting out their route (albeit based on prior knowledge of what they believe will be optimal), noting down the roads they wish to use at what time and the landmarks they want to stop and grab a selfie next to. Then the sellers are committing to the journey ― the timing, route, and stop-offs ― and they will be punished if the road or traffic conditions throw them a curveball.
Using an automated GPS, seeding this with traffic data, and automatically finding the most optimal route should be second nature, right?
Even given the ‘keep-the-traveller-happy’ constraints of when to travel (dayparts), which route to follow (networks), and which viewpoint selfies are simply a must, subtle automated adjustments can hugely improve traffic flow. The fewer constraints (about when and where) that the journey imposes, the more optimal my plan can be.
As a media seller, I have thousands of customers, each with their own journey plan. If I can collect the plans and recommend routes for all of them based on predicted traffic flow, I can take the pressure off my main roads and share out time allocated at my major landmarks. Most importantly, since effective optimisation is an ongoing process (not an ‘event’), I can automatically reroute travellers who are now apparently not on the optimal path due to a change in the underlying conditions. I can get them all to their destination without bumping into each other and free up capacity on my network. And unless I am genuinely overloading my network, I will get them all to their destination happily on time.
In TV ad sales, this is adaptive audience fulfilment ― just tell me where you are trying to get to and by when (audience required), and I will set you on the right path (place spots) and automatically adjust to the changing conditions along the way (re-book). And all along the journey, I will track and state the progress and expected journey time (campaign stewardship).
No more arguing over your co-driver’s map-reading skills. That belongs back in the 80s.