Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen media evolve to digital, and with it, new measurement solutions emerged to help publishers monetize on new platforms.
We saw print advertising shift to digital and a robust ecosystem of display ad technology. More recently, long-form television content consumption has been completely disrupted, moving from linear television to over-the-top (OTT) digital video solutions, (i.e., streaming). However, most existing ad measurement solutions are built for linear TV, short-form desktop video, or digital display and are not suited for the robust measurement of streaming.
Solutions such as TV ratings, pixels, and automated content recognition (ACR) have all been posited as potential streaming ad measurement solutions, but each have shortcomings. TV ratings don’t translate well into the on-demand nature of digital video; pixels are limited in the data they collect on streaming; and ACR doesn’t capture video consumption on desktop or mobile.
The industry has been trying to retrofit various ad measurement solutions for streaming, but what is needed is a solution that is purpose-built for streaming and the expectations that viewers, advertisers, and publishers have for premium content. Identifying such a solution is more urgent than ever as viewer adoption of streaming accelerates and linear TV viewing declines.
So, what does a purpose-built streaming ad measurement solution look like?
Works across platforms
Streaming is a fragmented environment and households have multiple devices. A good solution needs to be able to capture viewership in a standardized manner across mobile, desktop, and the plethora of TVs and connected devices including Roku, Apple TV, Samsung, Amazon devices, and many others. The best way to do this is by capturing data from inside the video player. Advertisers want to understand how they are reaching viewers across the disparate devices and publishers want to know the true size of their audience. A solution that collects insights as the video plays can get the full picture of how a viewer is consuming content and ads.
Complies with privacy laws and gate keeper policies
There have been a number of recent changes to privacy laws as well as the policies of device makers and gatekeepers. To ensure it provides persistent identification to accurately measure ad delivery, a good measurement solution can’t depend on any one identifier. A streaming-first solution can’t solely rely on a tactic like cookie targeting, IP collection, or Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). It must use a variety of identifiers and metadata so that if one piece is unavailable, data will still be accurate. Ensuring that viewers feel that a service is complying with privacy expectations is important; in a Conviva survey of viewers, those who felt privacy was being protected were 77% more likely to be satisfied with ad-supported video.
Understands the expectations of viewers and advertisers
A measurement solution for streaming also needs to understand the TV-like quality expectations that advertisers and viewers have which differ from short-form web content. For viewers, this means a premium experience when they stream, including ads that don’t have loading issues, ad breaks that aren’t intrusively long, and advertisements that seem relevant to them or what they are watching. For advertisers, this includes competitive separation in ad pods, controlled frequency of ad exposure, and brand-safe content. A purpose-built streaming ad measurement solution must measure all of these metrics and provide insights to help ensure a premium experience.
It’s time for the industry to consider streaming a media type like no other, and with that, a media type that merits a new approach to measurement. Publishers who identify and adapt a strong solution will be in the best position to work with advertisers to monetize their inventory and build a platform with a loyal viewer base.