FreeWheel is Changing the Way to Track Metrics

By Comcast Advertising InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: FreeWheel is Changing the Way to Track Metrics

Back in the late 80's, I had the chance to run the NYC Marathon. It was a lot of work and yes, I did finish (off my mark, though, at 4:28 I think). It's a great race, an awesome course and very well organized. There was one small error in that race, however. The first mile marker seemed to be a little short. which meant my first mile seemed blazingly fast for me.

That memory came back in a recent discussion I had with FreeWheel Advisory Services' VP David Dworin (pictured below). While explaining the new methodologies recommended by FreeWheel's Advisory team, Dworin talked about an athlete's training process. He told me, "the metaphor we use that we really like is, once you have stepped up your game and you've decided to go from amateur athlete, to endurance athlete, to being really competitive, you need to have all of this equipment that allows you to get that real-time monitoring so you can make adjustments on the fly."

Given the complexity of the entire experience, with so many partners and technologies involved in the process, the industry needs to findsimplified and more user friendly ways of monitoring their business. That's just what FreeWheel is doing by providing their premium video publishers new recommendations for ways to monitor revenue, create a better customer experience, and deliver the highest value to advertisers.

For this new research paper, FreeWheel worked with a wide range of clients to identify and address the problems they're facing. As Dworin explained, "we boiled them into challenges that people are facing in the industry and are now empowering publishers across the premium video ecosystem to apply the solutions we've identified."

True Yield

FreeWheel's work with clients resulted in a framework called True Yield to help balance the needs of the different audiences involved with video advertising. As Dworin explained, "If I'm a viewer watching ad-supported content, I want those ads to be as high quality and relevant as possible. The second piece is the advertiser who wants the consumer to be paying attention to as many of their ads as possible. In the middle, you have the publishers." He continued, "Let's take a metric that represents each of these different groups and we show how monitoring against this framework can really help to deliver more value for all of the different parties involved."

Four Sets of Metrics

Through their work with premium publishers, FreeWheel identified four key sets of metrics across three themes that can be used across the industry. These metrics help manage revenue, improve the viewer experience and deliver the most value to advertisers. They even led to a $10 million increase of revenue for one of their clients.

It was critical to FreeWheel to make sure that advertisers are getting all the information they need to verify that they're getting the value they desire. Dworin explained, "So we looked at both the opportunities and the technical challenges in each of these different categories as an example of how monitoring and tracking in your business can amplify value for all of the different stakeholders, including obviously for publishers hitting their revenue goals and aligning with business strategy."

Viewer Experience

For viewers, ad repetition is still a hot topic in premium video. Dworin commented, "we wanted to give publishers the tools to monitor the viewer experience." Publishers and advertisers both need to know ad frequency. A FreeWheel study found a 20% to 45% drop-off in a content stream, depending on ad repetition. As Dworin explained, "if you've seen the same ad repetitively, it introduces monotony into the experience. It takes you out of the story of the ad and it takes you out of the experience you're trying to watch."

Audience Targeting

As they explain in their full report, FreeWheel believes it's critical to manage relevant ad messaging in a way that is both privacy compliant and protects the data of everybody involved. FreeWheel makes sure that message frequency and targeting is being implemented in the most effective way possible for advertisers and that gives publishers the tools to monitor that implementation.

Dworin explained, "I can target you more accurately based on your interests beyond just age and demographic profiles. I might know the types of financial products you want, whether or not you're in the market for a car." Dworin added a critical point about today's viewers: "As a viewer you can be watching content that is targeted towards somebody of a certain demographic, but if you're not actually in that demographic, you don't not necessarily have to see that ad."

Ad Consumption

Today, short attention spans and skipping technologies make it critical to be able to know when viewers were exposed to an entire ad. Making sure all the expected events are received is more important than the order they arrive but monitoring the order can help investigate other technical issues.

Today, you have so many systems communicating, as well as many different types of devices that the consumer is using to consume content. As Dworin explained, "You have lots of things connecting your content and your stream together, and you need to make sure that they're all passing the right information in the right order at every level so that advertisers are able to see that their ad got seen by the right people at the right time."

As Dworin summed up, "the competitive athlete metaphor applies. How can we equip our clients with the premium video tools that allow them to gather all the available data, learn so much more, and use that data most effectively to serve both their advertisers and their own business needs?"

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