GSTV's Eric Sherman on Measuring Cross-Platform Video Advertising

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Cover image for  article: GSTV's Eric Sherman on Measuring Cross-Platform Video Advertising

One of the most dynamic areas of advertising research today is the evolution of holistic, cross-platform video measurement. The recently announced partnership between national video network GSTV and analytics heavyweight Comscore opens a new front in this pursuit. Consumers engage with GSTV outside the home, on their path to purchase -- and this new measurement will follow. Agencies will soon be able to plan media buys on GSTV alongside other digital video investments.

GSTV and Comscore

GSTV, which entertains viewers with short-form video content on screens at fuel and convenience retailers, offers advertisers "a national video platform reaching more than one in three adults 18+ on a monthly basis," explained GSTV's Executive Vice President of Insights & Analytics, Eric Z. Sherman. "We reach consumers in a unique moment in their consumer journey. GSTV has the reach and scale of linear TV with the targeting and attribution capabilities long associated with digital media."

The network's partnership with Comscore is expanding with a new measurement initiative. In the past they have collaborated on advertising effectiveness studies. Comscore's reputation as "a global leader in cross platform audience measurement was a crucial consideration in GSTV’s decision to expand the partnership," Sherman said. The company is known for its "standard-bearing digital research tools and trusted television audience ratings service," he noted. "And trust is paramount." He added that Comscore aims to provide holistic video measurement "that is as inclusive as possible, accounting for all video touchpoints throughout the day."

Gary Warech, Executive Vice President, Comscore, says that platforms like GSTV have "long been part of Comscore's vision. It is a natural extension of the impressions-based currency that the media ecosystem relies on to drive better business outcomes. We are going down the path to add digital out-of-home as a channel in our product suites."

GSTV Video Measurement Methodology

For this next step in video measurement, Comscore will provide network level reach, frequency and impressions by demo and market for GSTV's 26,000 locations. "Basically, the foundational planning metrics for agencies," Sherman noted. In addition to the full footprint, the data can also be broken down by market area and by the classic demographic breaks.

"The measurement will comprise a number of different data inputs," he continued. "The foundational element will be financial-grade, census-level transaction data, so we have a precise view of each and every impression that occurs. We know when somebody is in front of the screen, seeing the ad or a piece of content. Comscore will layer additional data elements, including mobile device, panel and survey data, to establish core demographic and behavioral projections."

All of this data will be incorporated into planning tools for marketers and agencies. Initially it will answer the basic questions of reach, frequency and demos. "Going forward, Comscore will integrate GSTV network data into various other tools, including Plan Metrix, for example," Sherman shared. "So, you will able to combine GSTV audience information with data for digital properties like mobile apps and websites allowing planners to quantify things like incremental reach," helping advertisers build effective cross-media campaigns.

According to Comscore, hundreds of agencies use this platform for advanced targeting based on digital and TV media consumption, lifestyles, interests, attitudes, demographics and behaviors.  GSTV audiences will be available in Plan Metrix by Q3 2022.

"As Comscore continues to invest in the future of cross-media video measurement, we anticipate that GSTV will get even easier to plan alongside other video solutions like linear TV and CTV/OTT platforms,” Sherman continued. "We look forward to a future in which video investments are not planned in siloes, and our work with Comscore will help facilitate that."

GSTV's Future

GSTV has upgraded its video measurement at a time of changing consumer preferences which, Sherman noted, presents the company with a unique growth opportunity. "There are two trends propelling our recent growth," he explained. "One, the decline of linear television and the rise of streaming, and two, increasing concerns about consumer privacy.

"As linear TV ratings decline, ad-supported streaming isn't growing fast enough to make up the difference in ad inventory," Sherman said of the first trend. "Supply is down, prices are up and marketers are frustrated. GSTV has been an increasingly effective video alternative for advertisers seeking to drive measurable business outcomes at scale.”

As for the second trend, privacy concerns are mounting, with 84% of Americans worried about what advertisers know about them. "Digital is losing its superpowers," Sherman asserted. "Contextual advertising is reemerging as in important part of the digital advertising toolkit." GSTV knows not only what viewers are seeing on the screen, but also what they’re doing, what stores are nearby, and more -- offering advertisers a more nuanced picture of consumer intent without having to collect any sensitive personal data.

"We are seeing a convergence of all different types of media," Sherman said. "Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is part of that trend, and as a result, I think we'll continue to see increasing investment in the sector."

"It's hard not to feel optimistic about the [DOOH] space, and industry forecasts are predicting a strong rebound for DOOH as the world emerges from the pandemic over the next two years," Warech shared. "Comscore believes OOH media will continue to have a more prominent role in future marketing plans and we are excited about its inclusion as part of our overall product suite."

As far as GSTV is concerned, the implementation of this cross-platform measurement capability, currently slated for late 2021, will place it in the sweet spot for advertisers. "But just as important is enabling clients to quantify business outcomes," Sherman said. "We've spent the past few years really focused on helping our advertisers measure the actual business impact of their campaigns on our network. We've seen that the platform is especially effective at driving incremental retail foot traffic lift, brand awareness and CPG sales, yielding above-average ROAS for our clients," he concluded.

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