In the 19th century, the legendary department store owner and marketing pioneer, John Wanamaker, astutely declared, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Over a century later, the issue of measurement remains a central quandary for marketers. As today’s audience divides its time across a multitude of screens and platforms within the Total Video ecosystem, measurement has never been more crucial. However, it has also become progressively complex, as an array of stakeholders need to be measured.
The “what” before the “how”: Preliminary questions for Total Video measurement
A decade ago, when linear TV dominated more than 90% of all video consumption, the question of what to measure was straightforward. Content and ads were delivered on a fixed schedule through a unified signal, facilitating the alignment of content and advertising measurement. Panel data extrapolation provided advertisers with precise insights. In today’s fragmented video landscape, with on-demand content and individually targeted ads, measurement methodologies are in dire need of adaptation.
There are three main objectives for measurement
First, audience measurement is about understanding how video content is consumed across various platforms, whether linear or streaming. Second, strategic advertising planning aims to optimise media budgets across different video types to maximise campaign KPIs, such as reach and frequency. Third, campaign planning and reporting, which helps advertisers estimate campaign performance and provide comprehensive reporting on actual delivery.
Universe to measure
Options range from measuring TV content across platforms and devices to Total Video measurement encompassing streaming, social media and short-form content. The ultimate challenge is to measure total media, which includes all media types, whether video or not.
Metrics vary from simple contacts and impressions, which apply across all media types, to duration-based metrics closer to traditional TV measurements. Additionally, outcome metrics such as brand uplift and cost per conversion align more closely with marketing and business objectives, though their definitions and methodologies lack standardisation.
The choice between measuring all market players (regardless of tier) to provide full transparency, a market subset with similar quality standards for better comparability, or proprietary solutions from single media owners, determines the granularity of measurement. The future of measurement appears to balance highly granular proprietary solutions from publishers rather than imposing a “one-size-fits-all” model.
A European landscape of Total Video measurement initiatives
Achieving campaign-level data in Total Video measurement necessitates a multifaceted approach, comprising various components: Firstly, TV panels measure TV content audience and advertising reach and frequency. Secondly, digital panels calculate digital reach. Then there is firstparty data acquired from digital media owners for counting digital advertising contacts and providing campaign-based reports. Lastly, cross-media panels deduplicate reach and frequency between TV and digital.
Notable initiatives from official TV measurement institutes
- Médiamétrie in France
This institute is pioneering an advanced solution for measuring the total TV audience in France. By 2024, it aims to provide comprehensive measurement of all TV editorial content, regardless of viewing mode, place, or device. It is also looking to include on-demand advertising campaigns in its TV advertising measurement.
- Barb in the UK
The UK’s official TV measurement body is expanding its measurement to include content “fit for TV” as determined by industry consensus. On the advertising side, it is enhancing tools for strategic planning and reporting, with a focus on deduplicated reports for campaigns across TV and BVOD.
- The NMO Initiative in the Netherlands
The Dutch media industry is reengineering its total media measurement to cover the full scope in comparable terms and include most vendors. This long-term process started in 2021 and is progressively delivering results media by media.
Private measurement initiatives
The US experienced a setback in audience measurement in September 2021 as Nielsen lost its Media Rating Council accreditation to measure TV. In April 2023, Nielsen regained its accreditation but multiple alternatives managed to develop in the meantime such as NBCU’s CFlight measurement and Videoamp’s TV Maximizer. These ad-hoc Total Video measurements addressing advertisers needs also led to similar initiatives in European markets.
- Atresmedia and smartclip Spain’s video advertising reach
They have developed a Total Video measurement solution that covers all their properties. It uses official TV measurement data, online video measurement data and a national cross-media survey for deduplicated reach and frequency across their properties.
- Realytics and the BEE solution spreading across Europe
Realytics, a French company, specialises in measuring the online traffic generated by TV campaigns. Its BEE (Brand Exposure and Engagement) solution measures linear TV, Addressable TV and Broadcast VOD campaigns, leveraging data from IPTV set-top boxes for deduplication and calculating incremental reach and frequency. BEE is expanding its reach by integrating first party data from streaming CTV platforms and expanding into other European countries including Germany.
In conclusion, Total Video audience measurement is an evolving field, adapting to the rapidly changing media landscape. As the industry navigates the complex challenges of measuring fragmented audiences, collaborations between publishers and advertisers will shape the future of measurement, focusing on finding the right balance between granular proprietary solutions and standardised approaches.