Google's Embrace Of Non-Google Metrics Major Step For Digital Ads

The news, announced this week, of Google and comScore's ad metrics partnership, is a major step forward for digital advertising. Making it easy for advertisers to evaluate digital advertising investment against a metric that CMOs have been using for decades (the Gross Rating Point, or GRP) represents a major evolution for Google, as it’s one of the first, and easily most significant, instances of the digital giant embracing non-Google means of measurement. 

Advertisers have been clamoring for an independent, third-party way to measure digital media for years.  In response, Google has offered Google Analytics -- and DoubleClick -- and Multi-Channel Funnels.  The common thread here?  All strong platforms with real benefits, but all brought to you by Google. 

Many advertisers (especially brand advertisers with deep pockets) stayed on the sidelines or chose only to dip their toes into digital, preferring to embrace TV advertising and its GRP.  Say what you will about the metric Nielsen introduced 60+ years ago, but its status as an independent, broadly-applicable means for measuring and comparing ad options helped increase the confidence brands had in investing billions of dollars in television advertising.

As Google broadened its digital offerings to extend beyond search and into display, mobile, and video, it encouraged advertisers to shift major portions of their TV ad buys into digital. Still, the company but heard a common refrain from big brands: “No, thanks.”  On the whole, brand advertisers kept their major funds in television and preferred only to experiment with digital ads. 

Google has a history of knocking down advertisers’ reasons for saying ”no,” one by one. 

But our company can’t meet minimum spend requirements.” Google's response: "No problem -- we’ve gotten rid of minimums."

But we don’t have a media agency to help us set up campaigns."   Google said:  "Meet AdWords, our easy-to-use, self-service platform for building and optimizing campaigns."

Digital video ads are so expensive, and I don’t want to pay for accidental or passive/forced views.”   Google's response: "Let us take you through TrueView, our performance-based video model where you’ll only pay for actual views."

Unfortunately, there was one reason for saying “no” that Google had struggled with that was preventing the sort of share-shift of media dollars from TV to digital that we’ve all be hearing about for years:  “We need an independent means for measuring digital ads and comparing what we’re buying with what we’re getting from our TV buys.” To get to "yes,” this time Google had to look outside of Google. Enter Google & comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials.

While many questions surround this nascent partnership (How will it be integrated into DCM?  Who will end up paying the bill?  Will all advertisers be forced to use vCE?), one thing is clear: It just got a lot tougher for brand advertisers to say “no.”

Finally, isn’t it interesting to see Google and comScore -- two digital native companies -- pave the way forward for the ad industry based on a metric shepherded into mass use by one of the stalwarts of the TV industry: Nielsen?  Your move, Nielsen.
2 comments about "Google's Embrace Of Non-Google Metrics Major Step For Digital Ads".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, February 13, 2014 at 3:49 p.m.

    Three words. Online Campaign Ratings. Been using them here in Australia for a year or two.

  2. Harry Hawk from Bread Depo, Inc, February 14, 2014 at 3:35 p.m.

    Universal ratings is the only way to compare ads which tend to be unique by way of the network they run on or some other factor.

    Also, not only do we need to compare, we need a single system combine all of our results across all media.

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