At CIMM’s recent Cross-Platform Video Measurement & Data Summit -- which was just two months ago, but now seems like a lifetime away -- attendees heard about significant advancements made in areas ranging from deduplicating reach to attribution to measurement of addressable advertising.
The progress made in these areas is impressive, but as always in an industry that wants more faster, there is still a desire for further advancements and change. That will happen, but perhaps not in the ways we expected.
A crisis -- especially one on the unprecedented scale we are now facing -- always accelerates change. And the dramatic shifts we are seeing in viewing behavior and the efforts being made by buyer and seller alike to understand them will force a reconsideration of how quickly we need cross-platform measurement tools that are now made possible by the highly granular and sophisticated data and measurement systems available to us.
As the agenda at our Summit evidenced, the focus of the industry entering into this crisis, appropriately, was on using data for optimization and ROI.
That will still be a core concern when the COVID-19 crisis ends, but as advertisers and media sellers are now finding, granular data and measurement is helping in a different way. And that is in helping to identify and navigate the dramatic shifts in viewing behavior that are occurring.
This focus is leading to consideration of TV/premium video consumption -- not just in a cross-platform way but in a “uni-platform” way.
Certainly, buyers and sellers were already moving full steam ahead with a focus on audience-based buying or impressions-based buying in a manner that made consideration of the platform and the audience it could deliver predominant.
But this was a focus on finding target impressions from a lot of linear TV, as well as a little bit of digital, VOD and addressable TV, and streaming or OTT. It was an amalgamation of platforms.
Now, with the total disruption of some foundational elements of TV and video -- namely sports and all live events -- advertisers are not just looking for “impressions,” but for entire categories of viewers.
This need to comprehensively reconsider the behavior of viewers based on highly granular data is forcing a realization and acknowledgment of how very “uni-platform” viewer behavior actually is. Viewers don’t really care what platform they need to access -- they care about the content.
If it is available on linear TV or on VOD, fine. If they need to stream or access it digitally, that’s fine, too.The platform is just a delivery or distribution point. It might as well be “one TV/premium video platform” to them.
As we know, there has been a huge revolution in TV data over the last 10 years or so. Now we are seeing the value of all of this in helping advertisers react quickly to changes and reallocate ad spend and in making it possible for networks to reallocate content planning and scheduling.
The granular data we have from Smart TVs and STBs is so far ahead of what was available from Nielsen ratings based on just 30,000 to 40,000 homes. Now buyers and sellers can find out quickly from millions of Smart TVs where all the people who traditionally were watching live sports, for example, are and identify the programming that they are viewing instead.
This data brings a new form of planning and buying TV advertising because now you have data that you can match to other data outside of TV sets and locate audiences in a much more granular way.
Some networks are even using this data in a single platform that integrates granular TV data for their networks with their own app data. They are using this to test how you might push viewers back and forth from digital to TV, how you might reach the light TV viewers, what kind of content you would need to produce for digital viewers to push them to TV and so on.
These types of data-planning platforms are a novel way to integrate all of these data streams together, and will help lead to a very different way of looking at platforms -- in a much more unified way.
As we know, a crisis always accelerates change, and this crisis will change an awful lot. Already, marketers are adapting, entertainers are reaching their audiences by streaming, and brands like Nike are looking to become more digitally based, direct-to-consumer brands.
Everyone from media companies to marketers will need to make these changes and live in this new world.
Data and measurement helped advertisers optimize their spend in the best of times -- but now, when nothing is no longer certain, is the time for which these advanced systems of granular measurement were created.
When all is changing, it will lead us out of the current crisis as it subsides.
But as it does, the focus it is placing on finding audiences and segments will foster a much greater macro understanding of how viewers are accessing the content they watch.
And the result may be a move from a cross-platform world to one that is much more of a unified TV/premium video platform in practice.