Performance & Data Charge Forward to Disrupt TV

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TV attribution is one of the hottest topics this year, and it certainly was at last week’s Advertising Week New York. It feels like we’re finally starting to break through the silos that have plagued the advertising industry thanks to a new hunger for data and analytics, which is driving Performance TV. Without a doubt, TV remains the greatest media channel, but lines have blurred between TV and digital. We’re making great strides with content living under the guise of “TV” and it’s measurable to boot.

Sitting at the center of this change are the broadcast networks and cable operators who are leaning into data across all of their services. The new legion of “virtual MVPDs” are putting TV performance front and center too. And data and digital-first companies are placing big bets on TV, pushing for the unification of linear and digital.

Marching alongside performance is the rise of set-top box and streaming data, with talk of panel size, ACR and smart TVs mounting. Ratings no longer fit in this cross-platform TV universe, which is now rapidly transforming from mass awareness to outcomes, viewership and addressability.

With tens of billions of dollars going to TV (including linear and digital), the pressure is on for content distributors of all kinds to find a TV currency that supports newer business models and advertiser expectations.

TV Performance is Here

This year, we’ve moved well beyond “recognizing” the need for performance-based TV measurement. There are countless examples across the advertising ecosystem of key players already adopting it – Comcast Spotlight, NBCU, direct-to-consumer (DTC) and automotive brands alike, and the list goes on. These companies have helped disrupt TV with proof of performance, bringing accountability to the medium and transforming actual insights into campaign optimizations that yield better outcomes.

Simple, old-school metrics, like ratings and audience, are being replaced with performance. Advertisers are testing TV in the same way as digital, seeing what’s working (or not), using different creatives on different programs, channels, times of day, days of week, and then tying those spots all the way through to business outcomes. Performance across linear is quickly rippling through all forms of TV content, whether it’s time-shifted or streaming served up on a smart TV or any device. Measurement for TV officially has no boundaries, whether that’s tying ad spots to response or evaluating the longer-term impact of TV, including performance within different platforms and delivery channels.

Performance is going to become the new TV currency as advertisers and publishers pull together TV- and digital-enabled video content, which means accountability and transparency will become expected standards. If you can’t prove it’s working, you won’t win.

Size Matters – Depending on What You’re Measuring

Large-scale datasets have taken on a life of their own, mostly revolving around viewership and ad exposure data that can be measured based on panel size and ACR technology from smart TVs. However, when you consider that there’s about 120 billion TV households in the U.S., with a little more than 30% having connected TVs, and each using different services (from cable providers to smart TV manufacturers), the TV universe becomes fragmented very quickly. When you factor in match-rates against the panel sizes, you see an even smaller proportion of the market. While household-level accuracy and information are important pieces of the puzzle, they represent a very small portion of the market and should be used wisely.

TVSquared takes a unified approach to measuring TV content, one that delivers household-level information without compromising scale. This is where advertisers can see the greatest benefit. Not only will you see who was exposed, who actually responded and the reach and frequency metrics, but you also get 100% measurement for responses, including those that would not have been captured within the restricted panel size. Size matters, especially when you can bridge the gap between enterprise-scale measurement and seeing the whole story against a small panel size of puzzle pieces.

Jo Kinsella

CRO and EVP at TVSquared

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