Do We Really Need Online Video GRPs?

What if we’re all wrong about online GRPs?

The online video industry took a big step forward this week toward a measurement standard with the news that Nielsen had expanded the reach of its Online Campaign Ratings initiative with the addition of several new online ad platform partners.

The industry now has a wide range of new vendors on board to integrate GRPs into their online video buying and selling platforms including Adap.TV, AudienceScience, DataXu, FreeWheel, Innovid, Jivox, LiveRail, SET, TubeMogul, Turn, VideoHub, Videology, Vindico, and Zedo. They join existing partners Tremor Video and AOL.

Nielsen obviously has a vested interest in making GRPs the standard so that it can dominate online ratings as it does TV. Perhaps this sort of centralization is exactly what the industry needs, and this move will indeed shepherd ad dollar upon ad dollar into online video, and enable a true seamlessness in moving money from TV to digital and back.

But. But. But.

What if GRPs are no longer all that? What if the industry has already outpaced the effectiveness of GRPs?

In a report released this week, Forrester Research predicts that while GRPs will be a standard for years to come, they will become less important in time because they don’t reflect the fragmented, multitasking, social-centric nature of today’s viewing audiences.

“Video ad sellers are trying to shoehorn video ads into GRPs, but video ads can already be targeted to far more specific eyeballs than a GRP-based measurement approach would allow. For example, Hulu can target its ads to viewers based on their device, content preferences, household income, and political leanings. YuMe and Adobe Systems can build and target detailed audience segments wherever they watch video online. As digital video continues to grow and be embraced by consumers, marketers will expect more precision and accuracy in targeting as well as cross-channel comparability,” the report said.

Marketers are already incorporating other metrics into their media planning such as set-top-box data, digital data, third-party behavioral data, social media metrics, and marketer databases, as well as performance measurement such as social reach, purchase intent, ROI, tune-in and other data, Forrester said. The firm pointed out that tools from companies like Bluefin Labs, Kantar and Rentrak are also offering marketers deeper insight into their TV and online buys.

I’m not suggesting the GRP is antiquated or going out of town. In fact, I suspect it will survive and thrive for years to come. But it’s worth considering if online video has already moved far enough past the GRP that its inclusion is more pro forma than revolutionary. 

2 comments about "Do We Really Need Online Video GRPs?".
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  1. Jeff Bander from Sticky, September 21, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.

    Folks there are a lot of interesting ways to measure the value of online impressions, in-screen, time on page etc.

    The standard of fairness and honest value of online impressions is with the realCPM.

    Go to and watch a short video showing you the future of the true value of online impressions.

    A delivered impression not seen is worthless. Now you can pay for what is seen.

  2. Jim Thomas from Frank N. Magid Associates, September 21, 2012 at 5:43 p.m.

    Good points and analysis here, Daisy. I think GRPs will stay around as well. With streaming users getting involved in content as well as passively sitting back and watching, it seems to me that GRPs in this environment can be very valuable. It has so much more potential power. How can we effectively measure that value to brands?

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