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There are many things to consider when buying TV across platforms. What are the best KPIs?

Cross-Screen Measurement and the Impact on KPIs

June 6th, 2016   ||    by Charlene Weisler

For an advertiser today, there is nothing more important when buying media than accurate cross-screen measurement to ensure that what is bought delivers on the KPIs. The question is, what are the most important and relevant KPIs today in TV advertising? Of course there are the traditional TV currencies of reach, frequency, rating, and delivery, but industry standard cross-platform KPIs are still being formed. In fact, these may vary depending on the advertiser, the product or service, the platform, and the content provider.

Viewing Habits

Ideally, with the proliferation of viewing platforms, devices, and content-provider options, traditional television KPIs will evolve into something more behaviorally targeted like an influencer metric or an engagement index that embraces the nuances of cross-platform consumption or perhaps a sales-results indicator that matches specific messages on specific platforms and content to revenue. But the likelihood of these metrics becoming industry currency any time soon is near nil. More likely, these new metrics will be customized deliverables used as secondary guarantees, and that may suffice.

The viewing habits of the typical American household have changed dramatically from the days of the family gathered around the living room TV set. Now, with expanding options, a family may still gather in one room, but they are semi-engaged, at best.

A recent Google whitepaper on measurement links most of the behavioral shift to mobile. “The consumer journey (is) now defined by real-time, smartphone-enabled ‘micro-moments.’ Ninety percent of viewers turn to other devices like PC, tablets, and smartphones while watching TV to get more information about the program that’s on, communicate with others, or research an advertised product or service,” the whitepaper states.

Audience Fragmentation

This fragmentation of audience places stress on the current currency of GRPs, ratings, and impressions and the panel-based methodology of this currency. Will we see a shift away from panel-based media measurement? Not entirely, according to Nielsen, (which has a vested interest in maintaining their quality panel). But even Nielsen is embarking on new measurement solutions for the new media landscape that adds other third-party datasets to their first-party panel data essentially merging their panel-based sample with census based set-top box and digital data—a first for the company.

Nielsen recently revealed some early data results from their now Total Audience solution. Nielsen spokesperson Ben Billingsley explained that, “Total audience is the framework for measuring audiences across platforms so that the data can be presented in comparable fashion from TV to digital on a like-for-like basis.” Nielsen is currently offering an expanded viewing measurement period enabling the opportunity to see how viewership changes over time, even years. Future enhancements include the ability for clients to look at source of consumption on connected devices.

comScore, a company known for digital measurement, has embarked on a cross-screen measurement solution through their acquisition of set-top box data company Rentrak. According to CEO Serge Matta, comScore’s system “will have person-level reporting across linear TV, time-shifted TV, [video-on-demand], over-the-top and digital video with advanced demographics and a broad range of measures for national and local markets.”

When it comes to standardizable audience-measurement KPIs, Nielsen and comScore are both on the right track. But in the world of programmatic TV, it is the delivery of performance-target KPIs such as behavioral targeted segments that will offer advertisers a secondary, customized benchmark from which to ascertain campaign success.

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