December 20, 2011 – 7:00 am
As part of a wider plan to turn itself into a cross-platform ad sales platform, ad tech firm INVISION is working with Nielsen on a plan to transform the way TV networks compensate media buyers for having failed to deliver on previously guaranteed ratings targets: instead of offering additional TV ad units as part of a “makegood,” the two companies will find comparable online ad placements for advertisers.
The practice of using online ads for a TV makegood has been around for a while. For example, ABC presented online video ads as makegoods to some advertisers three years ago after the 100-day writers strike ended to avoid giving away chunks of broadcast airtime and demonstrate the value of its online ad advertising.
Although the desire is there on the part of networks and advertisers to do more cross-platform deals, the lack of a direct comparison between online and offline audience measurement has made getting those efforts done more difficult. In a conversation with TVExchanger, INVISION CEO Lynda Clarizio said that the accelerated rise in online video spending by major marketers is helping to ease the friction that still persists to some extent.
“The TV networks have found growing demand for digital, particularly with regard to their online video inventory,” Clarizio said. “What’s been missing is a form of measurement on that can match up the kind of audience demographic numbers and ratings for online that these companies are used to getting on TV. So if a show that promised a certain number of male viewers between the ages of 18-and-49 didn’t materialize offline, the work we’re doing with Nielsen represents a way to ensure you can get those consumers when they’re online.”
Clarizio describes the program as a “cross-platform advertising inventory liability management” system. The company will have access to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, which involves recreating the audience analytics providers’ TV audience ratings panels with online, such as with data related to Nielsen’s work with Facebook.
In addition to advancing INVISION’s DealMaker product as an ad system that encompasses marketers’ and media companies’ ad sales for TV and online as well as out-of-home and radio, it also represents a further step by Nielsen to build greater acceptance by online media buyers and sellers around the idea of the “gross ratings point.” Nielsen rival comScore has also tried to get wider industry backing for its own use of audience-panel generated GRPs for online ads.
Earlier this month, Digiday’s Mike Shields reported that Nielsen had reached a deal on recognizing web-based GRPs with online video ad network Tremor Media. The two agreed to integrate the Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings system into VideoHub, Tremor’s web video buying/measurement/campaign-management tool.
There are a lot of arguments in favor of bringing the idea of TV-based GRPs to online. For one thing, the online ad industry has often been criticized for lacking a true apples-to-apples standard for comparing online audience numbers in general. The notion for using GRPs, the traditional TV standard, is clear and familiar.
But others have said that GRPs are a great metric for counting eyeballs in a the basic “reach and frequency” approach that TV does so well. Kantar Video CEO Bill Lederer has argued in the past that online ads’ value should rest on measuring an ad’s effectiveness and levels of engagement.
The increased focus on engagement levels for online ads have presented additional problems for media agencies. For one thing, no one can precisely agree on what and how effectiveness and engagement should specifically be counted.
“Are GRPs the best way to measure online advertising and audiences? It may not be perfect, but the advertising industry needs some sort of organized system for identifying the value of an ad placement,” Clarizio said. “There needs to be a common currency. Right now, you can say that GRPs do work great for TV. As that standard value takes hold, other forms of measuring effectiveness and engagement become much more possible.”
By David Kaplan
December 20, 2011 – 7:00 am