We recently discussed the television industry’s shift to Over-The-Top (OTT) services and how the shift to connected TVs is dramatically changing the advertising industry. And along with new ways to view media come new ways to measure not only television audiences, but to track audiences across media channels.
Today, it’s not enough to simply know that some people maybe saw your ad while watching their favorite television show; marketers want to know if the people who saw an ad on TV also saw a similar ad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other platform, as well as the device they used. Not only that, marketers want to know as much about the viewer as possible—age, household income, purchasing habits, blood type (just kidding)—and if any or all of those data points can identify the connection between media placement, personal information, and a purchase.
comScore, the venerable digital ad measurement company, believes it figured out that challenging nexus, and has recently launched a new measurement product that they believe will “provide advertisers with a more realistic report of who is watching their ads” on any device. In other words, they believe they can identify if a person watches an ad on their television, an OTT service, or even on their mobile phone. Of course, this puts them in direct competition with Nielsen, which has been providing cross-channel measurement for quite some time.
And while some media outlets are cheering to have their audiences measured more clearly across channels and devices, other industry experts aren’t as convinced. For example, one CTO and co-founder of a video ad tech firm thinks the data sets pale in comparison to what marketers are used to getting with other digital platforms.
Regardless, what a lot of this points to is the increasingly irrelevancy of the classic TV measurement tool: Ratings. And maybe that’s a good thing. After all, we’d rather have more data than less. We’d rather have clearer data than a somewhat abstract number. All of those things help us make smarter media buying decisions.
Granted, the tools aren’t quite there yet. To accurately get all the data, a system needs to collect data across a wide variety of “devices, servers, and panels,” and has to match that to either individuals or households. That sounds fairly straightforward technical problem, but what happens in a household of four that watches Netflix every night? Maybe one person is watching, maybe all four are. Is there any way to really tell? While this seems like the debate about counting how many angels can fit on a pinhead, it’s actually quite relevant as our media and devices become more fractured. Plus, we’re not talking about measuring what one specific household does, but aggregating that information from millions of households and distilling it down into something insightful and useful.
Of course, the key is having someone who can really make good use of all the data that’s out there. That’s where we come in. If you need help deciphering the data to make better media buys, contact us. We can help you cut through the mountain of information out there, and make smarter, more effective media buys.