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Bridging the gap in a connected world

03 Sep 2019  |  John Carroll 
Bridging the gap in a connected world

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GfK provides media measurement currencies for numerous markets and it’s always a useful exercise to hear views and latest developments around the world. We continue to find the industry to be collaborative, where advertisers, publishers and research agency work closely together, so debate is nothing new.

Recently, we’ve formalised that with a roundtable initiative where we meet annually with industry stakeholders to debate the burning topics of the moment in an open and honest forum. The result of our 2018 meeting was a white paper, Total Media Measurement & Beyond, presented at Mediatel’s event, Big Day of Data, in June. In our second article from that paper, we share some of the discussions focusing on the changing advertising landscape, and measuring online video in particular.

The challenges of measuring non-broadcaster online video with broadcast TV

Although billions are spent on video advertising annually in the UK, to date advertisers have relied on the metrics provided by the publishers to understand views, reach and ROI. It’s quite incredible when you put that sum in context with spend on other media that have established common reporting currencies. In the case of online video however, despite the mega budgets allocated to the platform, reporting is done almost entirely in isolation because there is no accepted industry standard measurement available where performance can be compared and benchmarked.

Currently, advertisers can buy data and inventory through walled gardens, which may be from trusted suppliers, but there are of course concerns about transparency, quality and indepenedence. As Mediatel’s David Pidgeon said in his recent article, Mind JIC the Gap‘, “Joint Industry Currencies - BARB, RAJAR, Route, PAMCo et al - are more vital than ever in the age of untrust. So yes, independent measurement is absolutely vital - and no, you should not let Facebook mark its own homework. Better to be expensive, slow and right than quick, cheap and wrong.”

The whole concept of a JIC as an industry currency is that it is based on shared data and commonality – with the proviso that perhaps it may be perceived as expensive and slow. This doesn’t apply to metrics for online video performance which at present almost always originates from direct competitors who want to build and maintain ‘walled gardens’ to protect and deliver their own data. If however, we can achieve a common standard, there is a real possibility of creating super-efficient integrated campaigns, and unlocking advertising budgets.

Can we ever expect to be able to optimize ad performance on platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live and other publishers using measurement gained from a JIC? It can be argued that there is not enough incentive for the platforms to share their data. The drive really needs to come from advertisers and while they continue to support the likes of Facebook and Google there is no need for the big players to change.

In effect, this situation is very much political rather than technical. Auditing and harmonizing is required when it comes to bringing the data together, and perhaps the industry can partner up, creating subscriber log-in alliances, sharing census data and panel profiles. Whatever the eventual solution, it’s clear that all parties need to collaborate and – maybe – create some room for compromise.

In Germany, GfK measures linear broadcast data for the Video JIC  JIC (AGF). AGF has developed a data audit process to integrate Google (You Tube) data in to the TV streaming data, which is limited to tagged platforms and YouTube on aggregated level.

The delivered data from Google has to pass through the data audit process in order to become part of the currency. This is still work in progress, so Google is currently not part of the currency, but this can be seen as the first steps towards an audited currency, which may become a blueprint for other markets

One general question that came up was “How much longer can the current multi-JIC/silo model survive in a connected media world?” What’s interesting is that advertising on online video is currently being reported this way, with metrics originating from the platforms themselves.

What next?

All markets are different and need to address their own unique issues, but all are being disrupted by digital platforms and the constant evolution in media consumption. There are some constants: large advertisers want trusted, independent audited data. They want to operate at a regional and global scale.

Those that are investing in online video advertising want market-level, reliable, transparent measurement to evaluate performance and ROI against competitors. Total media measurement, or cross-media measurement, will need online video advertising to be a core component. The next stop will be to add in data from the global SVOD giants, Netflix and Amazon Prime, to get the complete picture of the audience…until the next media revolution comes along.

JICs can play a role in auditing global data sets. We need to keep working with large data platforms to find common ground.

Download the full white paper here

John Carroll is Global Director Business Development Media Measurement at GfK

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