Over the last two years, over-the-top (OTT) advertising measurement has caught up -- and in some cases, is surpassing -- traditional TV measurement. For marketers, OTT combines the branding power of TV with the data and precision of digital. New advanced analytics tools are helping the most innovative brands and agencies quantify OTT campaign results and seize the shift in consumer viewing to streamed content.
Below are three key advances in OTT and advertising measurement:
1) OTT Third-Party Measurement Is Ready for Primetime
Third party measurement on OTT has evolved beyond guesswork and approximation. OTT first grew around IAB VAST -- a common in-stream advertising protocol that allows a single ad response format across screens. This framework guided OTT toward transparency and standardization, allowing multiple means to measure the value of an impression. Today, it is the OTT platforms with registration data about users that are best-equipped to enable this third-party measurement. For example, Nielsen and comScore now provide reach, frequency and GRP measurement for OTT at the campaign level. In addition, the measurement of co-viewing -- where more than one person is watching the TV screen -- gives brands the same metrics no matter how a campaign reaches the TV.
In addition, advertisers can quantify whether exposure to an OTT campaign drove site visitation, store visitation, or mobile app usage, while TV networks can understand how a tune-in campaign on OTT increased program viewership on both OTT and traditional TV.
There is still more work to be done linking OTT to the rest of the digital and linear ecosystems, but leading platforms have already built the bridge to get us there.
2) OTT Viewing Is Now Mainstream
TV viewers are getting harder to reach through traditional TV advertising. According to MoffettNathanson, 17% of U.S. households currently don't have pay-tv services. At the same time, OTT has grown rapidly. FreeWheel's Video Monetization Report for Q1 2017 found that OTT jumped from 2% to 32% in total ad view share over the last four years, surpassing desktop for the first time as the largest platform where premium video is viewed.
Ad-supported content is the fastest growing OTT segment, including viewership on TV Everywhere, Digital Native and Virtual MVPD channels. Simply put, brands that don't follow the eyeballs are missing out. Audience analysis from Experian, Acxiom and Neustar can help advertisers identify these viewers, match to CRM lists and integrate campaign targets into a media plan.
3) Marketers can now quantify optimal spend on OTT by target
It's one thing to know that OTT viewership is growing; it's another to translate that into a media plan. The challenge is aligning reach, frequency and cost by audience segment across platforms. Time spent using a device can help guide overall budget allocation. According to Nielsen, OTT makes up 23% of average video viewing among adults 18-34, more than double that of PC, smartphone and tablet video viewing combined.
OTT platforms with second-by-second viewership data can then break out reach, frequency, GRPs and capping for different audience cohorts, helping brands quantify spending by demo target and incremental reach to existing media plans. This gives advertising agencies an edge in projecting ROI and delivering measurable value to clients.
The possibilities of OTT make advertising more exciting today than ever before. Advertisers that demand rigor and standardization from their OTT media vendors are already reaping the benefits.
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