We continue our list of 10 digital trends we see impacting our clients’ business during the coming year.
If you haven’t read the first post in the series we recommend you start here: Countdown 10 Digital Trends to Watch in 2017 – #10
2) The Promise of Cross-Channel Measurement
As video consumption becomes increasingly fragmented, the ability to measure viewing across TV and digital platforms has become imperative. Currently, measurement of TV and digital is done in separate silos without understanding how much overlap there is or how much additional reach is gained through these incremental channels. Fortunately, measurement technology is catching up, and more robust and accurate tools are being rolled out by Nielsen as well as comScore at the national level.
Historically, Nielsen ratings have been the official currency of the TV advertising marketplace and Nielsen hopes to extend that position into the foreseeable future, even as the TV/video environment continues its rapid evolution. Nielsen released their Total Audience Product in October 2015 which promises to revolutionize how the industry looks at national ratings by incorporating digital video, VOD and DVR viewing along with traditional TV viewing. The new audience estimates, called “Total Ad Ratings” and “Total Content Ratings,” will soon be available to the industry as a syndicated service offering. These products will be able to provide advertisers with measurement of consumer exposure across all platforms as well as measuring advertising and content separately. These new ratings will measure and report TV and digital viewing through a 35-day window, a much longer duration than the industry currently uses which is live, same day, plus 3 or 7 days out from broadcast. It is still unclear what duration will be used as the transactional currency for national TV/video buys.
Nielsen now has competition in this arena, as comScore has introduced their own cross-platform measurement product, Xmedia. Previously the leader in digital media measurement only, comScore acquired and integrated Rentrak in 2015, with its panel of 40 million set-top devices. By combining this TV data with comScore’s own online panel data, the company can start to provide measurement across multiple video delivery platforms at the household level. Their new “Total Home Panel” promises to measure all connected devices in the home and comScore reports they are currently measuring upwards of 300,000 internet-connected devices. It also promises to link advanced demographics (beyond age and gender) to specific programming, mobile app usage as well as website visits across screens.
While Nielsen and comScore are taking very different approaches, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, it is certainly exciting that both providers are now working to deliver some form of measurement for TV/video consumption across linear and digital channels. What this means is that advertisers will finally start to understand the incremental reach through digital as well as being able to de-duplicate the total reach of their media campaign. This provides a whole new level of understanding of the effectiveness of a cross-channel media plans and could lead to big changes in the future.