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This AOL-Owned Product Can Track The Ads You Watch On TV—And Target Your Phone

Millennial Media says its technology can send follow-up ads to your phone by monitoring the commercials you watch on television.

This AOL-Owned Product Can Track The Ads You Watch On TV--And Target Your Phone

An AOL-owned company says it can now send advertisements to users’ smartphones based on the television commercials they watch. The new technology, offered by Millennial Media, extracts data from set-top boxes and anonymously matches it with the viewer’s smartphone.

Using the new technology, Millennial says it can insert follow-up video advertisements into web pages or apps being viewed by users who have already watched a commercial for the product in question.

According to Andrew Abbott, the company’s senior director of global mobile video sales, the technology depends on a partnership with viewership analytics firm Rentrak:

Rentrak aggregates data across various cable and satellite providers, and passes digital audiences based on commercial viewership to Millennial Media’s DMP. From there, Millennial Media anonymously matches the Rentrak-cultivated audiences with users on smartphones and tablets, and can serve a mobile video ad to that cross-screen audience.

It’s worth noting that the retargeted mobile ad is served after the initial TV ad is viewed, providing an additional opportunity for sequential messaging and brand re-engagement. Advertisers can choose to re-target consumers who have seen their ads before, or even put their digital video ads in front of people who’ve seen competitors’ ads.

AOL has heavily invested this year and last year in technologies that allow advertisers to target customers based on their television habits. One of the next frontiers for advertisers is technology that can track commercials on smart TVs, and then send viewers accompanying ads on their work computer, home computer, tablet, and smartphone.