Unified Reporting For Video: Beyond Scotch-Tape & Glue

Advertisers and publishers alike are embracing the concept of multiplatform video campaigns, and both face a major industry challenge: unified reporting across these myriad screens. 

When a single video piece runs across multiple digital platforms such as online, mobile, YouTube, Roku, Apple TV and out-of-home (movie theaters, stadiums), the post-play reporting is not one but many, with different methodologies and measurement metrics. Advertisers and publishers are forced to scotch-tape or glue them into one usable report.

Among the challenges in producing unified reporting:

--  Accurately targeting the right audience

--  Removing duplication and delivering desired exposure

-- Measuring common metrics such as streams and brand lift that are critical to sales cycles

Is a more viable unified reporting solution on the horizon?

All signs point to advertisers planning to spend a much larger portion of their budgets on multiplatform campaigns.  According to a recent joint Nielsen/ANA study, “Media spend attributed to multi-screen advertising campaigns is expected to grow from 20 percent of budgets today to 50 percent in the next three years.”

This trend is here to stay.  Marketers know video is rapidly expanding across all distribution platforms and uniquely allows them to reach their target audience throughout the day, whether it be mobile, in-home or away from home. Integrated campaigns will be the recipe for success, and unified reporting is the secret sauce. 

Unfortunately, the comScore of multiplatform unified reporting does not exist, although it should! The good news is, some parts of the equation have been solved:

Nielsen: Nielsen is leading the pack in unified reporting with its On-Location tracking service, which measures some away-from-home networks similar to its standard-setting TV and online ratings systems.  Nielsen is also developing a new cross-platform measurement tool to connect TV, online and mobile. 

YouTube: If you select YouTube as your default video player, you will have a form of unified reporting for your video campaigns. While your reach is limited, your revenue share obligation can be up to 50%, and you have little control of where your video gets embedded, this option does support strong reporting. 

Calls-to-action:  Multiplatform calls to action (CTAs) are being addressed. Companies such as SoundHound and Viggle have matching technology that can be leveraged to create continuity.

On-site: In terms of new technology, Bluetooth Beacons leverage on-site devices (beacons) for check-ins and in-door measurements of audiences. This reporting approach requires the buy-in of out-of-home providers, who must choose to upgrade their legacy technology. 

All-digital: As I write this, RSG Media had just announced its Cross-Platform Reporting tool, which will seek to automatically aggregate data from hundreds of sources, including iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Nielsen, Rentrak, Omniture, comScore, Freewheel, and many others, using adapters and matching. It will give content creators actionable overnight information on content availability, usage, revenue, and royalties across all digital, linear and on-demand platforms.

I am encouraged by the rapid pace at which the unified reporting landscape is shifting, suggesting tools beyond scotch tape and glue are on the horizon. That said, there should be greater urgency. At the upfronts last week, I observed more and more companies trying to tap into TV dollars. Why aren’t all of those companies vying for TV dollars pushing the envelope to get unified reporting solutions in place? Without a viable third-party reporting system for cross-platform video campaigns, marketers can't easily discover if they are reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.  

The market is ripe for new entrants on the reporting side, who can capture a huge opportunity as the industry shifts advertising dollars into multiplatform campaigns. For now, unified reporting cannot come soon enough! 

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