A holistic approach to TV measurement

A holistic approach to TV measurement

We need metrics that are comparable on a like-for-like basis while recognising that no one single metric shows the best result.

A single currency in TV measurement that incorporates the ever-evolving streamers, connected TV (CTV) and VOD is not a new requirement.

Many discussions have been had and processes implemented that continue to advance and sometimes falter as the industry finds its way. One recent example is YouTube pulling back from its co-viewing measurement plans.

So what do we need to create a workable single currency for TV measurement?

Co-viewing measurement, where multiple people in a household are watching TV together, is an increasingly interesting data point as the CTV market matures and subscription VOD suppliers start to offer advertising. It’s perhaps not something we’ve given as much thought to.

This is what makes Barb unique — not only does it measure how many people are in front of a screen, but also who is viewing within the household. This is important from an ad-targeting perspective.

The reason that we’re not paying co-viewing as much attention is because there are other fundamental measurement features not yet in place. We can’t accurately measure commercial reach across all platforms.

Having an accurate steer on ad campaign reach that is independently measured, for example by Barb, is essential to the future of TV advertising. Once that’s in place, it becomes even more important for advertisers to understand how many people are in front of the screen and who they are.

Like-for-like metrics

We need to make sure the metrics we’ve got are comparable on a like-for-like basis. Barb can measure duration-based reach and that’s what we ask all other video suppliers to provide, but we’re also interested in impressions, impacts and completion rates.

We need the same level of data across all video, so we can make an informed choice about whether we want to use a duration- or impressions-based metric for any given ad campaign.

Without this, we run the risk of having misleading media metrics that unfairly represent what a video encounter looks like.

We need digital data and TV data to be comparable and, despite protest on either side, there isn’t one that’s better than the other. It’s like having an imperial and metric measurement system where we’re never quite sure how they stack up.

If you’re a TV ad planner or buyer, you’re speaking one language; and if you’re a digital ad planner or buyer, you’re speaking a completely different one. We don’t want to have to put in that extra effort to translate everything.

This disconnect stems from where these channels are born. Many of the new video opportunities are digital and served on an impression basis that automatically default to a certain language. We need to decide how to translate this into the more traditional measurement metric that we’ve used for years.

Amazon coming into the ad market this month and other similar changes to the TV advertising landscape will create a threat for traditional broadcasters.

It’s in the streaming services’ interests to collaborate and support Barb on agreeing a single view for TV measurement. The entire ecosystem is under threat from ad investment being funnelled into other media channels. Most people recognise that video is valuable to brands, because the ever-strong brand-safe, high-quality power of audio and visual consistently sells goods.

Taking a holistic view

We also can’t take one metric in isolation; it needs to be a holistic view.

There are misleading media metrics that don’t give you the full picture — for example, completion rates. There’s no one singular metric that shows the best result. Instead, we need to consider the type of “encounter” we want to achieve to deliver a specific campaign outcome.

YouTube can deliver long ad exposure in high content engagement and it can deliver short ad exposure alongside a roller-skating cat. Channel 4 has traditional linear TV, VOD and social video.

They’re all trying to operate in different spaces, but if we consider the “encounter” we want the target audience to have first, we can build out our plans from that starting point.

At the moment, we can’t be truly fluid between all video encounter types. Broadcasters are trying to simplify buying routes to make it easier for advertisers, but behind the scenes the trading mechanics are complex.

Focusing on any one metric will be misleading. We need accurate quality comparable data to inform budget allocation across different video opportunities. Ultimately, co-viewing is one piece of the data puzzle needed to create a workable single currency for TV measurement.

Emma Moorhead is head of channel planning at Wavemaker UK

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