Discovering Cross-Platform Measurement: Q&A With Verto's Verkasalo

Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics, started out as an entrepreneur straight out of school. “I built a few consulting companies using my skills in data analytics, and helped big telcos in Europe to better measure and understand their consumers,” he explained.

Then he moved into building technology products.

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about your company.

Hannu Verkasalo: We independently collect data in the market, using a unique panel-based single-source audience measurement approach. We track consumer media behavior across all platforms and channels, 24/7.

Based on our methodology, we’ve built a set of media measurement products and services.

Using an information-as-a-service model, we help big brands and technology companies understand their competitive landscape, monetize their audience, and better target advertising dollars in a cross-platform, omnichannel world. We are based in Helsinki, Finland, with offices in New York City, San Francisco and London, and are venture-capital backed.

Weisler: What are the viewing behaviors of the cross-device consumer?

Verkasalo: The cross-device consumer is becoming the norm. Close to 75% of American adults use at least two devices per month, and almost 40% use at least three. Smartphones are used throughout the day, PC use peaks in the daytime, and tablets have gained market share during prime time versus TV use.

The next generation of consumers is going to be even more mobile-centric versus being tethered to a PC or a TV.

Weisler: What is the most important cross-device metric for advertisers?

Verkasalo: Net reach, which is defined as the total number of unique, unduplicated viewers of an ad, or the unique count of consumers for specific content. It’s critical for advertisers to gauge the net audience that a given campaign or selected properties can potentially reach, regardless of the channel or device.

Weisler: How can you measure attention and engagement?

Verkasalo: [You measure] attention by tracking what people see on the foreground of their devices and whether people take actions based on the content they see. Do they make a purchase or leave the app only to return five minutes later?

We measure every user interaction with a device second-by-second. One of the most popular metrics to measure attention is the cross-device clickstreams people go through based on a trigger, like search, advertising or social. We have built some metrics to quantify this.

[We measure] engagement by counting the seconds people use a specific service, app, or site, on the screen. We track this second-by-second, validating exactly what people do and for how long.

One of the popular new metrics for engagement we have invented is stickiness. Services that have a high stickiness rating also have high loyalty and attention among users.

Weisler: Is the lack of an industry standard content ID protocol a challenge in measuring cross device comparably across advertisers? Media companies? Marketers?

Verkasalo: Visibility into what consumers are doing cross-platform is an enormous challenge for the industry. You hear that from media companies, marketers and advertisers. We address this challenge with our single-source passive measurement panel. Rather than measuring device use by tying together data from a mobile panel or PC panel, we measure engagement of a single consumer across all devices and content. We connect all that cross-device activity back to that unique consumer.

Weisler: How can we get to an industry standard?

Verkasalo: Consumer behavior has changed more in the last five years than the past 50. Consumers switch between multiple devices and services throughout the day, but many companies still struggle with measuring this behavior due to lack of visibility, [plus] measurement methods that don’t do a good job of quantifying consumer behavior.

The industry needs a modern measurement standard to meet the demands of brands, advertisers and publishers. Media companies, like Turner, Viacom and many others are stepping up to the plate to lead that charge.

1 comment about "Discovering Cross-Platform Measurement: Q&A With Verto's Verkasalo ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 15, 2017 at 9:06 a.m.

    Interesting, Charlene, however time-spent-on-screen is a very crude and potentially misleading measure of attention to a particular ad that may be on that screen. I'm sure that there is a degree of correlation with ad recall and other human response indicators, however, if one ad is on a digital screen for 10 seconds while another is on for 5 seconds you can't assume that the former had twice the impact. Maybe 15% more imapct, perhaps, 25% more, possibly 50% more and sometimes there will be no difference at all. Now, if the ad is the only thing that is on the screen---as is the case with "linear TV", then time spent might offer greater comparability between digital and "l TV", but this is rarely so in digital media.

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