Cross-market TV Measurement Close to Impossible: Q&A with Kevin O’Reilly, CTO, TVSquared

Following our recent Now & Next piece, which delved into the evolution of the TV industry and the impact of new technology, ExchangeWire spoke to Kevin O’Reilly (pictured below), CTO, TVSquared, about effective TV measurement. Here, O’Reilly talks us through the challenges of achieving a global view of TV performance and how advertisers can overcome these.

ExchangeWire: What are the challenges of effectively measuring cross-border TV advertising performance?

Kevin O’Reilly: For the most part, response can be determined by IP address or, in digital, by targeting criteria and cookie tracking. In the context of cross-country TV measurement, the question should be: did the web visitor actually see the ad? If the ad could not be viewed in the country, or in the local market, then the TV ad doesn’t receive credit. This is the case even if it ‘leaked’ over the border (e.g. from the US into Canadian cities like Vancouver, Windsor, or Toronto).

What are some of the core differences in the measurement of TV advertising between different markets?

The differences are generally around audience and, at times, the way in which ads are purchased (by spot, network/daypart mix, in clearance, programme sponsorship, etc). Different data-protection laws around cookie acceptance and deployment, and the use of ‘watermarking’ in TV ads (unique digital symbols embedded within) can also be challenges.

How can TV advertising performance be measured effectively and consistently across multiple markets, if these nuances exist?

Traditionally, cross-market measurement for TV ads has been close to impossible to achieve for advertisers.

When we were developing the ADvantage TV attribution platform, this was one of the challenges we sought to eliminate. Because of the way ADvantage measures TV (by response to a brand’s assets from specific spots) it is, essentially, an agnostic, global platform.

Is it more challenging for direct-response advertisers to gain a consistent, global view on their TV advertising efforts versus brand-led advertisers?

Kevin O'Reilly | TVSquaredThis is a big question! Traditional direct response relies greatly on vanity URLs, promocodes and phone banks; all of which have their own biases and measurement issues. At a global level, the sheer volume of these can become hard to manage, usually because there are multiple vendors in each country.

Brand-led advertising has a completely different set of problems in that the ‘brand’ likely varies from country to country. And, at times, in those countries, the ‘brand’ may even differ (e.g. P&G products, including Daz, Fairy, and Bold, are highly similar products with different names). Brand objectives for a TV ad likely differ from country to country; which means there are also different measurement objectives.

With TVSquared, we capture brand engagement at the start of the consumer journey, or at the key engagement points after the initial interaction – even weeks away from the initial visit to a brand’s assets.

Given that each market is different in terms of rules, measurement, and response, how beneficial is having a global view on TV advertising performance?

There are three parts to this answer. Firstly, global deployment gives an advertiser a consistent measurement methodology that allows for reliable comparison. Secondly, a single platform provides the ability to easily compare performance across countries. Even just having spend data for TV in place is a huge benefit. The final piece is that, ultimately, a brand has limited resources; and understanding how marketing investment is performing vis-à-vis other efforts (cross-channel, cross-product, cross-country, etc.) is critical.

At some point, CMOs have to make decisions around where those dollars are best spent. The more information they have to make those decisions, the more interchangeably they can treat those dollars.

If an advertiser is currently measuring TV advertising performance in each market in isolation, what should it know before deciding to switch to a global view?

Before moving to a global view, measurement also has to go global. I know that sounds obvious, but hear me out.

With a technology like TVSquared ADvantage, you can set up tracking so that each country is siloed (different cookie pools are created by country) or that the brand has a single cookie pool (shared across all countries). The latter allows marketers to see TV response cross-country. As video-on-demand becomes more prevalent, then the ability to look across country becomes about understanding in which country the ad was seen and responded to.

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