Break Down Measurement Silos And Get with the Program-matic

Posted on 2014-06-17 by Media Daily News - Charlene Weisler

Two hot topics swirling around the media industry today -- cross-platform measurement and programmatic buying -- were front and center at the recent ARF Measurement Mandate conference.

ARF CEO Gayle Fuguitt gave the industry a call-to-action: "We need the right insight with the right decision-maker at the right time.” She believes that “research needs to keep up with the consumers today. We need to go from media to audience targets, from black box to behavioral convergent data, from ‘post-diction’ to predictive and from silos to collaboration. We also need to fund measurement initiatives and experiments to scale and grow.” See a short video of Fuguitt’s ideas and initiatives here.

TV Programmatic

I can easily understand why programmatic works in the digital realm. There is ample inventory of content, ads are easily placed dynamically, and are measurable and posted against consumer segments. Since these conditions don’t necessarily apply to television, I don’t see programmatic, under its current definition, being implemented in TV any time soon.

But that doesn’t mean that a form of programmatic automation cannot be implemented in television ... and soon. Some believe that it will. AOL’s Bob Lord believes that “media, data and technology are the new palate that fuels brand experiences and creativity (which can come from anyone and anywhere).” “Convergence” he said, “is a journey. Programmatic is the mechanism that integrates humans into the process.”

Rubicon’s Greg Raifman doesn’t even like to use the term programmatic. He said it "only captures part of it -- the trading and execution.” Even the basis of programmatic -- to automate the selling of remnant inventory --doesn’t resonate anymore with Raifman. He explained that businesses that once started on the lower end eventually moved up in quality. “Nasdaq started automating with low-cap stocks. Now you can trade any stock electronically. eBay started with a flea market environment, like low-cost Pez dispensers. Now eBay sells cars. Automation always starts on the lower end. Remnant or unsold advertising are now with private exchanges that are also selling mid-level inventory. One day we will even sell Super Bowl ads. The part that has grown the most is the part that has been automated the most.”

Adam Gerber of ABC seemed to disagree, noting, “To us, automation is not programmatic. Programmatic is client data in real-time against inventory. It will not be 100% by 2020, as some predict. Big ideas such as sports are not programmable.”

Here is a short video showing a range of opinions on TV programmatic from conference attendees.

Cross-Platform Measurement

“We can now view TV on multiple screens,” said Fuguitt, “and our metrics have to keep up with the media.” There is a critical need for true, scalable and standardize-able cross platform measurement. But media measurement has always been and continues to be silo'ed by platforms and metrics. We get stuck in “legacy systems and legacy thinking” that holds us back from progress in cross platform measurement, according to CRE’s Richard Zackon.

The measurement mandate, according to Fuguitt, can be built on our strengths (MRC quality and historic TV measurement), grappling with our weaknesses (no centralized leadership, low innovation, lack of precision in mobile and a low focus on advertisers), by exploiting opportunities (maximize our industry leadership and invest in a cross platform measurement roadmap) and combating threats (inefficient dollar allocation, turf wars, privacy and fraud). Next steps should include “creating common GRPS that are measured across media, starting with video and then moving quickly to mobile. We also need to validate impression measurement and agree to common ROI effectiveness measurements,” according to Fuguitt.

P&G’s Joan Lewis noted that we have "a measurement and leadership challenge as well as a growth challenge for dollars and business." How do we move forward? Lewis says the “first step is developing common metrics: understandable, comparable and recombine-able across all media types and devices with no black boxes. Then we must be able to explain it to people and have them understand it. The success metric has to be sales.”

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