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Taking A Bite Out Of Data Confusion At RampUp

Last week’s RampUp Conference in San Francisco featured a very well attended panel moderated by Live Ramp’s Head of TV Platforms, Jessica Hindlian and featuring iSpot CEO Sean Muller, Freewheel’s GM, Claudio Marcus and NCC VP Justin Rosen.

The topic of the panel was “Advanced TV and the Age of Accountability” and the idea was to look at the differences in the way digital and TV marketers look at measurement and accountability.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow, I’ll just highlight a couple of points of interest. (Or that I found most interesting, anyway.)

The Problem With Raw Data

iSpot’s Muller was quick to point out that the biggest problem with TV data was that much of it was raw and had not been cleaned up. This, Muller explained, means that “it’s very, very hard just to get a raw data set to be consistent and scalable.”

The next issue is that it’s hard to get that data to line up with Nielsen. “Nielsen does an average pod rating. So each ad gets the same rating. We know in reality that doesn’t occur. But you need to align with Nielsen because that’s the currency for TV,”  Muller noted, adding that is why the way raw data is processed is so important. 

Proving TV’s Effectiveness

Muller spoke about how iSpot’s multitouch attribution platform was designed to help prove TV’s effectiveness and the importance of using quality data. “I would say probably 90% of the data sets that are out there, people find them attractive because they’re cheap or because it’s easy to get their hands on them, but really, it’s not a good approach. If you want to move from age and gender, to focus on business outcome, then using the right data set is very important. I think that’s probably the area that gets overlooked the most and there’s a lot of a lot of confusion around the types of data sets that are available.”

The other piece of that is first party data.

“Brands want to take advantage of their own data,” NCC’s Rosen added.  “The interest in activating against their own first party CRM has become a borderline obsession. And I mean that in the most positive way.”

Freewheel’s Marcus also spoke about how attribution could help determine which creative units were more effective. “With program promotion, you can see the differences in creative that are not clear to the trained eye. When you stack all those views, you start to really see differences, even though they are getting the same number of views. There’s also an opportunity to explore the long-term value of creative,” he added. “What is the ultimate value of a spot like Apple’s “1984” that people still remember over 30 years later?”

OTT Measurement and Data

All of the panelists agreed that there were still many challenges around how OTT data was collected and measured. Freewheel’s Marcus noted that given that the current market was still skewed overwhelmingly in favor of linear (96% ), OTT advertising needed to be part of a cross-platform buy in order to make it worthwhile for many brands. “That’s why we need to have deduplicated stats for OTT,” he stated. “To make sure that we’re reaching an audience that’s not the same people we’re reaching on linear.” 

“We’ve been able to do this with addressable,” NCC’s Rosen said. “We’ve been very successful in showing that you get incremental reach and added effectiveness when you have multiplatform exposure through the traditional linear environment and that you can enhance it even further with addressable.”

Grading Their Own Homework

Hindlian asked the group what they thought the phrase “grading your own homework” meant and the names “Google” and “Facebook” immediately popped up.

“Their policies are getting even more aggressive around defending the walled gardens,” Marcus said. “Largely on the back of GDPR or pending legislation here in the U.S..”

Marcus also pointed out that Facebook and Google often hid behind their success with small and medium sized businesses, which is about 70% of their business—most are grateful to have any kind of measurement or attribution attached to the advertising they are buying.

“But if you’re a Fortune 500 company, it’s not so great, because you’re investing across many different media types, and you want to have a better understanding of how those investments impact your business, and you want to do that through a trusted third party,” he concluded.

Wrap Up

  • Measurement is still tricky. Data sets need to be scrubbed and optimized before they’re useful, brands often don’t understand how that works or what it means.
  • There’s very little overlap between how Nielsen measures TV and how set top box and ACR measure it and work needs to be done to get the three sources into alignment.
  • Attribution is great as a way to prove TV’s effectiveness, but requires a high level of rigor and analysis from multiple sources of high-quality data.
  • Nobody likes Google and Facebook’s practice of grading their own homework and bigger brands are finally starting to push back.
  • OTT measurement is still all over the place but offers an opportunity for more exact measurement based on impressions, though right now, deduplicating and aligning data sets remains the primary issue.

TL;DR: This comment from iSpot’s Muller really summed up the entire panel in a nutshell:

We’re confident in the fact that we believe TV on the whole works. I think we’ve shown that for a number of years now. Going forward, it’s really all about the concept of data optimization and doing better.