The term “measurement” used here is the digital definition, meaning measuring the outcomes of the TV campaign, such as driving sales lift, search or social media activity. Historically, TV has not been held to precise outcomes measurement, only needing to demonstrate that the correct number of GRPs was delivered, because GRPs equaled business results.
I remember when I was a product manager quite a while ago, we developed a highly accurate linear regression model to correlate TV GRPs by week in market with the number of new customer acquisitions. If we were not tracking to reach our target number of new customers by the end of the quarter, we knew how much to add to the TV budget to hit our number. It was a brute-force approach, but it worked for that era.
Today agencies and advertisers want to precisely measure outcomes for all types of TV campaigns, from major brands across all categories to traditional response campaigns. They want to know not only if the campaign is successful, but why is it successful, and which parts are more successful than others. Which networks drive better outcomes, which dayparts, which target audience? Demand for this type of precision measurement is growing because it has been table-stakes for so long in digital. Marketers now have the same expectations from their programmatic TV campaigns.
I’ve spoken with a number of data company execs who have measured various outcomes of TV campaigns. They say it’s quite common for sales lift or search traffic lift to be well into the double digits. Measurement is simply confirming what many have known from years of experience: TV advertising is extraordinarily effective at driving intended behavior. Measurement is an opportunity for TV to reinforce and re-prove its value.
The fourth quarter brought a great deal of consternation in the TV advertising ecosystem, with a lower-than-expected upfront followed by a sluggish scatter market. Meanwhile digital, social and mobile seem to be charging ahead and stealing greater share. Unilever has committed 20% of its budget to digital, and Pizza Hut has allocated 40%. Further, TV network executives have remarked that advertisers are deciding on their TV spending closer and closer to airtime, sometimes within a few days. This lack of visibility on demand has taken a toll on media stocks. All of these changes speak to a shift in the advertising marketplace that demands more flexibility, agility and accountability, especially for TV.
Programmatic TV, the union of automation and audience data, including measurement, delivers on this need for flexibility, agility and accountability. The outsize value exists inherently in TV advertising, and programmatic will help unlock it further.