As OTT media gets political, cross-channel measurement wins advertisers’ vote
When the major political parties flock to advertise on streaming services, it’s a sure indicator of where consumer attention lies, says Angus Blackwood.
While the politicians turned to 7plus, 9Now and 10play, in part to get around the legal blackout period, their actions in the run up to the election are indicative of a wider trend. Advertisers are boosting spend on over-the-top (OTT) and other connected TV experiences because that’s where their audiences are. According to Research and Markets, OTT revenues across APAC are expected to reach $48 billion by 2024, with more than half expected to come from advertising. In Australia alone, the advertiser video-on-demand (AVOD) space is set to rise to $122 million this year.
But as spend on OTT and connected TV advertising escalates, the industry needs to learn from past experiences with digital advertising and ensure the right measurement solutions are in place. From politicians to retail brands, anyone advertising on connected TV must be able to measure the impact of their campaigns and understand their ROI. And this should be across all digital channels, not just within an OTT silo.
We are already seeing some moves towards greater accountability and understanding in the connected TV space. OzTAM, in conjunction with Nielsen, is rolling out Virtual Australia (VOZ), an integrated database combining TV ratings with connected device viewing data. Its aim is to deliver an “all-screen, de-duplicated picture of what Australians are watching, who is watching and how they are watching.”
The service brings TV ratings estimates from 20,000 panel homes and 12 million devices streaming TV content into a single database. It also offers advertisers reporting and post-analysis at national and local levels. Nine Entertainment’s new platform, 9Galaxy, allows advertisers to buy audiences across both its linear TV channels and its AVOD platform, 9Now, using the VOZ common audience currency.
In addition Finecast, a new global business unit of GroupM, is exploring the reporting structures around addressable TV. Finecast looks to econometrics modelling and sales lift to fill a gap between existing digital measurement systems, promising advertisers real-time access to campaign performance via a self-service dashboard.
These are all positive steps towards helping advertisers understand how their campaigns are performing. But by focusing solely on measuring ad performance in the OTT or connected TV space, they risk taking the industry down the same siloed path digital advertising is desperately trying to backtrack along.
As digital advertising evolved, distinct teams, tactics and technologies formed around each channel. Search is still largely managed separately from social, while display is seen as distinct from audio or out-of-home. This situation makes it almost impossible for advertisers to gain an accurate understanding of campaign performance. With the consumer journey criss-crossing a variety of digital channels, multiple teams are claiming full credit for the same conversion.
There is a particular blind spot around walled gardens. Despite controlling more than two thirds of Australian ad spend, big players such as Google and Facebook don’t necessarily provide the granular information advertisers need to understand how campaigns are performing in the context of their broader advertising efforts.
The digital advertising industry is trying to break down the walls between distinct channels and connect the dots on the consumer’s digital journey. The goal is a full, cross-channel understanding of performance across search, social, digital audio, out-of-home and mobile. This level of insight enables advertisers not only to see where a customer has interacted with their campaign, but also determine the true impact that interaction has on their final decision to buy. With this cross-channel insight, advertisers can reallocate spend and optimise campaigns for optimum efficiency.
If we’re not careful, OTT and connected TV could become yet another channel to add to the list of silos that must be broken down. Measuring OTT is all well and good, but if measurement doesn’t also put performance into context and take into account the impact of other touch points, it will fail to deliver what advertisers really want – integrated campaign results across all channels. Rather than taking a short-term, blinkered approach to OTT measurement, the opportunity now exists to build a sustainable long-term solution that enables cross-channel attribution.
Despite sizeable spend predictions, and the political parties’ sudden interest in streaming services, we are still in the early days of OTT and connected TV advertising. Let’s learn from the experiences of the wider digital advertising industry and build long-term comprehensive measurement solutions instead of analysing this promising channel in a vacuum.
Angus Blackwood is commercial lead ANZ at Adform
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Image credit:William Warby