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One Way Social Video Can Grab a Piece of TV Budgets? Similar Metrics

The fact that digital video’s been taking pieces of the TV pie is nothing new. But that conversation is also largely focused on OTT programming, and the premium content being delivered to devices by way of companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, as well as the new influx of “flix” options from Apple, Warner, Disney, etc. en route by 2020.

Those options have taken center stage for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that they can (for the most part) be measured similarly to TV, and with greater targeting capabilities to boot. The measurement conversation’s left out video hosted through social media platforms for the most part, as that content has been discussed in terms of likes, views and engagements to-date.

However, that could change in the near future. Video measurement company Tubular Labs recently revealed new details around a suite of metrics aimed to address social video’s lack of uniform standards, and value those audiences at parity with traditional media channels.

Notably, they’ll introduce measures for time spent viewing across social platforms and de-duplicated audience engagement — all at a global level. By adapting TV metrics to the borderless social video environment, it’s the first true effort to normalize attention and unique reach on a global scale for social video.

According to Tubular chief commercial officer Neil Patel, the full list of metrics within this first invite-only beta program will include: standardized time-based views across platforms, true global de-duplicated reach, total watch time, average watch time per unique viewer, audience demographics and location, and special reporting features.

Tubular co-developed the new measurement capabilities with fellow members of the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA), which launched in January 2019. Along with Tubular, founding members of the consortium include Viacom, Ellen Digital Network, Corus Entertainment, VICE, BuzzFeed, Group Nine, and Media Chain. The group also recently added both Discovery and Brut. 

GVMA members are part of an exclusive beta group testing the new metrics, and their experience sheds an interesting light into how the future economics of social video may unfold. 

Though the Ellen Degeneres Show is a widely-watched traditional media property airing on NBC, it’s also grown itself into a very popular social video brand as well. Michael Riley, Ellen Digital Ventures’ General Manager, shared why TV-like metrics are so important for their program (points that apply to many others as well).

“As we continue to create content and new IP produced exclusively for digital, the market needs measures that allow media companies to communicate brand resonance — including branded entertainment content – at parity across channels and show a complete picture of our broad audience,” said Riley.

Tubular supplied the top-10 media companies by global reach image above, and it resets the conversation on how all properties can utilize the standard to better identify their audience, deliver content that speaks to those viewers, and work with brands in a way that adds increased transparency. For as many traditional media companies on the list above, there are digital-first publishers as well who can better identify global audiences with a TV-like standard in place that allows them to transact in the same way traditional broadcast publishers do.

As social video continues to grow further into premium and longer-form, it’s reasonable that there’s a need to evaluate the outputs differently than they have been to-date. Though there’s certainly plenty of short-form video still out there (see TikTok’s success and the growth of the “stories” format over the last year or so), Tubular data shows a decrease in uploads on YouTube for videos under a minute long compared to those of 15-20 minutes, as a percentage of overall video uploads on the platform. Further, on Facebook, 10% of videos uploaded in the last 365 days ran at least 20 minutes; a rate that climbs to 11.5% in the last 90 days.

This captures videos categorized under “ Facebook Watch,” but is not limited to that classification. It also indicates a shift in how audiences consume video content, and how brands and publishers can adjust strategies accordingly — or specific to the audience that watches their produced content, in particular.

Tubular will be sharing more about the metrics at NewFronts West in Los Angeles this week, via a presentation entitled “Social is the New Reach: A Look at the Future of Digital Video Audience Measurement,” from company co-founder and chief strategy officer Allison Stern. The new metrics are only available through the beta program right now, though interested companies can contact Tubular to get updates and join the waitlist.