Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Time for advertisers to move beyond piecemeal CTV measurement

By David Barker, Managing Director, EMEA, Samba TV

When studying consumer behaviour amid the pandemic and international lockdowns, one of the takeaways is that TV still occupies a large spot when it comes to at-home entertainment.

Yet the way that consumers receive TV content has changed over the past decade, and the pandemic only accelerated that rate of change.

Linear TV consumption remains quite large, especially in the U.K. and Europe, but audiences are increasingly turning to Connected TV (CTV) to get their entertainment. Time spent streaming even overtook linear for the first time in the U.K. this year, likely aided by pandemic lockdowns and time spent at home.

The growing popularity of subscription services as well as the increased use in other streaming video on demand, broadcast video on demand, and ad-based video on demand services creates a conundrum for advertisers as they strive to reach their audiences in this increasingly fragmented landscape.

As CTV grows, advertisers still have two clear needs: deeper measurement across CTV and a cross-border approach for assessing their U.K. and E.U. campaigns. The accelerated shift in consumption methods have made it all the more important for advertisers across the continent to embrace expanded measurement options, giving them a clear understanding of both what audiences are watching and ad effectiveness, so that they can better formulate their media buys.

Metrics out of step with consumers

The biggest issue here is that as CTV grows, large swaths of the audience are not measured by standard practices. In the U.K., this is prevalent among younger audiences, as 45% of time spent by 16-34-year-olds is not measured by BARB and classified as “unknown viewing.” Without a clear understanding of total reach and frequency across channels and platforms, brands could be under-serving or over-exposing different factions of their target audience. Given the fact that younger viewers are less easily measured, this problem will only grow in time.

TV joint industry councils provide valuable national insights on TV consumption, but this doesn’t provide advertisers with the thorough insights needed to understand pan-European campaigns. There are limited solutions that work across multi-territory campaigns, meaning that advertisers can’t clearly see the extent to which their campaigns met ROI objectives, including purchase behaviour and tune-in. They’re left to piece together multiple solutions and hope that they can ascertain a clear vision of performance.

Partnerships drive change

Samba TV has made strides to help improve this cohesive approach to measurement for advertisers and recently announced a partnership with Comscore, known for its measurement platform, to help broaden advertisers’ level of insights across platforms. Utilising our proprietary Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology, we recognise what viewers are actually watching, whether it’s via CTV or linear. Armed with this data, brands can advertise to these households based on either ad exposure or content consumption, through both TV and associated digital devices within the household.

Advertisers and agencies need to assess their reach and frequency across multiple screens and platforms, across borders, and still target and measure viewers across the fragmented media landscape. There’s also the need to deterministically connect TV and digital measurement to grasp the full picture of ad effectiveness and obtain actionable insights on how to allocate spending to the channels going forward.

Attribution evolution

In short, advertisers need a reliable attribution solution that measures CTV and digital, so that they may determine whether TV or digital ads are resulting in the most ROI. This expanded solution would require ACR data combined with digital pixel measurement, and detailed reports to provide insights as to where to invest in real time to drive the most cost-effective real-world outcomes.

This deeper measurement opens up the ability to see if a consumer has or has not seen an ad on TV, and then use digital to either retarget that consumer if they’ve seen the ad or extend the reach of the TV campaign if they have not. This is what will help advertisers reach audiences that aren’t watching linear TV, while also ensuring that they aren’t overexposing audiences on either TV or digital.

As CTV consumption accelerates and younger consumers are harder to track via traditional means, the need for deeper measurement will only grow. Advertisers who can start using these tactics in advance will stay ahead of the curve and future-proof their plans for the next evolution in media.