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Scenes from the ARF 2019 AudiencexScience Conference – Day 2

AxS logoDay 2 of The 2019 AudienceXScience conference from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) was held April 16th in Jersey City. This annual fixture in the media research industry calendar – a rebrand of the ARF’s 2006-2018 Audience Measurement conference – again brought together many luminaries to shed light on the current state of media measurement.

ARF logo

Detailed Notes for Day 2
See Day 1 Notes here

Below are notes from each of the panels/presentations I attended. These notes are by necessity distilled down based on how quickly I could take notes, so they do not reflect the totality of the presentations or discussions. I apologize in advance to any presenters who feel short-changed, misinterpreted, or misquoted.

Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era – Les Binet, adam&eveDDB

Presented results from a long-term analysis of UK data, which has head to four books. Fundamental principle: Brand (building) vs activation (sales). Activation can be high efficiency and high ROI – but while it creates sales blips, it does not build growth. Brand building creates long-term memories – broader reach, different attention, more memorable activities; its decay is slower which leads to long-term build.

How to maximize effectiveness

  • Penetration is always the main driver of growth; reach is king
  • Maximize mental availability; brand awareness/salience/fame
  • Messages vs emotions; rational is used for activation, emotional for brand effects

Invest in share-of-voice; if share-of-voice is greater than share-of-market, then growth. An optimal budget should be 60% brand, 40% activation. The fundamental rules haven’t changed with the emergence of digital. Digital increases efficiency and makes activation easier, but brand building is still more important in the long run.

The Race to Own the Future of TV – Julie DeTraglia, Hulu; Natasha Hritzuk, WarnerMedia; Ali Rana, Snapchat

— AT&T’s sale of Hulu?
JD: no change in near term at Hulu
NH: WarnerMedia are treating their upcoming DTC service as a CPG product, not a tech product. Doing UX research for consumer features. Content discovery and personalization are key attributes.
— Snapchat issues?
AR: they have Discover for storytelling from respected partners. Both scripted and unscripted shows. Content for mobile is very difference from regular TV.
— Future of appointment TV?
NH: Appointment TV now is when people get together to watch, not a set time based on broadcast schedule
JD: viewers want their content on every screen. Most of Hulu viewing is a connected TV in the living room
— Ads?
JD: Hulu wants to offer choice and flexibility like they do for viewing their programs. The ad load is less than regular TV; viewers can choose ads or have interactivity. All this leads to more effective ad environment. Their choice to place ads in “pause” screens was another space they could use without interrupting viewing (since viewing was already paused)

— Measurement?
NH: are we putting the cart before the horse by focusing on developing current measures, when they are working on ad experiences that bypass traditional ads; shouldn’t the measurement match the new experiences, rather than trying to fit new experiences into the old measures?
JD: Measurement needs to be part of the ecosystem. She has to do attribution with different vendors depending on measure needed. Hulu does some attribution now directly so to bypass.
AR: In 5 years, all advertising will be “performance” advertisers (eg, only pays on results, not exposures or impressions)

— Importance of diversity
NH: It’s a given. May need to offer multiple service options to serve all consumers.
JD: Same. Their research covers all types of persons.
AR: Snap has diverse user base and staff.

Seeking a Framework for Measurement – Radha Subramanyam, CBS

Media measurement has historically been about counting, in the future it will need to add outcomes as well. The current state of attribution research is that there are no consistent outcome measures or standards; and the impact of linear TV is underestimated.

The state of counting is it is too complex and still siloed. She wants simplification: a total audience count across all devices that gives total program and commercial audiences.

Philosophy for the future

  • Data comes in all sizes
  • Consumer analytics need to be aligned (survey and passive measures)
  • There is an art and a science to interpret meaning of data – the art focus on storytelling

And apparently, if she’s on your team and she yells at you, it’s a sign she cares.

Exploring the Multiple Dimensions of Attention – MediaScience & Google

What is attention? Desk analysis of existing literature revealed there is attention (in a continuum from Passive to Active) and inattention. There is much academic research on attention but little on inattention.

Attention is the absence of inattention, and inattention can be accurately measured. In the lab, blink duration and eye fixations per second had the highest accuracy in measuring attention/inattention

Within attention the best measures may be dependent on the content viewed, or the intended outcome of the stimulus.

Next steps are 1) a pilot to see if measures of attention translate to ads and 2) confirm the best measures for ad attention.

The Future of Audience-Based Buying  – Comscore

This session was really just a review of OpenAP without any new insights. It was also somewhat ironic as WarnerMedia (Turner), one of the founders of OpenAP, announced three days later it was dropping out of the OpenAP system.

OpenAP is helping network sales teams and their buying partners utilize new datasets. These can be used for planning, buying, posting, and auditing.

Demand for OpenAP has been “limited” but expanding. Despite the free access, the presenters quoted there are about 1,000 individual users signed up.

Consistent segment definitions can be used across network groups with secure segment sharing. It also allows independent 3rd party posting.

From Proxy-Based Optimization to People-Based Optimization – Survata

The problem of proxies. Today optimization is typically against viewability, CPMs, and reach but not against outcomes (such as brand lift).

To enable auto-optimization, need to move from campaign level to persons-level reporting (the latter being modeled). Also need single KPI to optimize against (such as funnel impact).

Can’t use traditional survey research, need “programmatic scale”
Can’t use tradition panel accuracy, need superior data accuracy
Don’t use look-a-like respondents, need causal AI

Cross-Platform Insights Every Influencer Will Cite This Year – Nielsen

This was pretty much a recitation of relevant results from the latest Total Audience Report from Nielsen.

There has been a 182% year-over-year increase in connected TV (CTV) impressions
There is currently about 10 billion(!) hours per month viewing time of CTV in the USA, translating to about 75 hours/month of CTV time among CTV users.
CTV adds about a 16% increment to a P18-49 audience.

Erwin Ephron Demystification Award

Congrats to Leslie Wood!

Brand Purpose and Cinema – NCM, ScreenVision, MESH

Many brand experiences are perceived as neutral, whereas consumers and brands both want “purpose”. This study used Real-Time Experience Tracking (RET), a one week brand experience diary.

Paid brand touchpoints are seen as less engaging and persuasive than owned or earned touchpoints. But paid can be a first step to drive people to the better-received owned/earned experiences.

Cinema cuts through neutrality [as one would expect from an NCM/ScreenVision presentation]. Two thirds of cinema brand experiences were positive, more than any other touchpoint, and was particularly helpful among 18-24 demo. TV & cinema together work even better.

A Levi’s case study was presented. Cinema exposures were 2x more engaged than TV alone; 93% found cinema memorable compared with 71% of TV.

Can Data Privacy Be Good for Brands? – Dan Linton, W2O Group

The risk of harm is real. Examples are physical (such as when FitBit jogging data revealed secret military/CIA bases) and emotional (such as when a woman miscarried but still was followed by baby advertising online).

The California Consumer Privacy Act will have a large impact, and is being followed by similar laws in WA, VT, OR, CT, IL, and TX. GDPR is already impacting the EU.

But GDPR did not kill off digital advertising in the EU. In fact, privacy ethnics are not detrimental but can be a positive differentiator for a brand/ad tech service. There are many positives that can result. These include:

  • Getting ahead of the curve in terms of what data are collected and how – and if any will fall foul of new laws
  • Becoming aware of, and organizing, data streams. Where are they from? Why do we use them? Are they really needed? Where are they stored? Is there PII to worry about?
  • Being transparent will build trust
  • Give consumers a reason to engage and share their data

Presenting the ARF Code of Conduct – Paul Donato, CRO of the ARF

Donato discussed the recently announced ARF Code of Conduct. What makes it different?

  • A focus on research not activation-type data
  • A commitment requires research of terms and agreement
  • A chain of trust between elements of the research process
  • Includes automated, location, and AI-driven research
  • There are monitoring KPIs; the ARF can see how many times the terms have been read and agreed to
  • There is a required annual compliance report

Companies can apply online and it is voluntary. It was made voluntary to avoid company lawyers resisting a more structured commitment.

[Donato completely sidestepped the whole issue of compliance. The code is a nice idea but it has no teeth – there is no active enforcement by the ARF and it’s dependent on someone being a whistle-blower. And the penalty of having the ARF seal rescinded may likely have no effect other than temporary embarrassment]

Too Much Math, Too Little Meaning – Rishad Tobaccowala, Publicis

We are in the 3rd connected age (1st = initial computer/browser based; 2nd = computer + smartphone; 3rd = internet of things, all is connected)


  • Erosion of trust
  • Close-mindedness – we need to do “A/B testing” in our own beliefs, ie consider other viewpoints
  • Rising inequality
  • These are all the dark side of the first two connected ages

Data isn’t missing about what to do to solve many of these issues, it’s the will to implement solutions

Purpose – what are we doing all this for?
Poetry – where is the art/beauty in what is being done?
People – you need to change people or keep them and change their mindset

See Day 1 Notes here

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

Scenes from the ARF 2019 AudiencexScience Conference – Day 1

AxS logoDay 1 of The 2019 AudienceXScience conference from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) was held April 15th in Jersey City. This annual fixture in the media research industry calendar – a rebrand of the ARF’s 2006-2018 Audience Measurement conference – again brought together many luminaries to shed light on the current state of media measurement.

ARF logoA surprisingly large 550 registrations were announced for AudienceXScience, indicating that the conference is in good health. However, part of that may be due to the ARF killing off its long-running annual conference this year (called re:think for many years before being rebranded ConsumerXScience in 2018).

Among the recurrent themes this year are:

  • Attribution and its issues continues to be the hot topic in measurement
  • One to segment may be a better targeting approach than one-to-one, especially given future developments re privacy
  • Data quality and the need for “ground truth panels” continues to make a comeback

Detailed Notes for Day 1
See Day 2 Notes here

Below are notes from each of the panels/presentations I attended. These notes are by necessity distilled down based on how quickly I could take notes, so they do not reflect the totality of the presentations or discussions. I apologize in advance to any presenters who feel short-changed, misinterpreted, or misquoted.

Opening Remarks – Scott McDonald, ARF President

McDonald feels there had been an improvement in measuring video in the past year, at least in coverage. But there are still blind spots and there are still uncooperative sellers who won’t open their walled gardens.  Advertisers need to pressure Amazon and others to open their systems to measurement. But there is no consensus yet on a cross-platform video measurement that takes into account both TV and digital. McDonald repeatedly called out “parochial concerns” as roadblocks – companies wanting to keep their data walled up to gain a competitive advantage.

Advertising in a Modern Media Company – Rick Welday, Xandr Media (A&T)

Welday spend some time on the advertising structure within AT&T: WarnerMedia with premium advertising opportunities, AT&T with ability to serve addressable ads across multiple channels, and Xandr being AT&T’s adtech solution. Key trends include 1) addressability scaling; 2) addressable is becoming easier to buy; 3) addressable expanding into other areas; 4) advertisers are committing to always-on budgets enabling digital optimization.

Frequency capping continues to be an issue. Example showed 70% of impressions were served to 28% of targets. However, using Xandr increases efficiency and allows advertisers to reach the “gold” light TV viewer. But Xandr right now only works with the 2 min of local avail time given to MVPDs.

The future includes improvement of frequency delivery and also sequencing ads. Local avails converge with national ads. Format innovations via AR, MR, and 5G. Very bullish on 5G and on its potential ability to bridge rural & digital divides.

Transforming Measurement – Megan Clarken, Nielsen

Overall media use has increased from 50 hours/week in 2003 to 75 hours/week in 2018 – an increase of 50%. Targeted advertising has increased from 2017 to 2019 from $2.4B to $6.8B for linear TV ads, and from $47B to $73B for digital TV ads.

Is there a problem with “measurement”? No, measurement is being done (by Nielsen, of course). There are issues with the overall system

  • alignment on comparability
  • everything should be measured and available, like for TV – all see all
  • how to avoid fraud
  • improvements in the ecosystem to support this goal

Many people are unaware of what Nielsen can do with de-duping audiences and with measurement within walled gardens.

Planning in an AI World – Brad Smallwood, Facebook

82% of display ads are bought using automated systems. Agencies, advertisers, and platforms need to think differently – “liquidity” and “signals”.

Liquidity allows each $1 to be spent on the next most valuable impression. An automated system selects the most valuable impression and creative, and serves it to the right person in real time.

Signals are behavioral data that machine learning uses to make predictions. They drive improvement in ROI for advertisers.

Automated systems like these are only as good as the data passed into them. And do the signals align with the end goal of a campaign? E.g., advertising ROI and optimization are two different things.

He feels that the implication for Nielsen and measurement is how can Nielsen make marketing better? It should be a marketing improvement company, not a counting company. It should add value rather than being a cost center.

Counting the Right Viewers in OTT Measurement – Nielsen

We should be measuring people not devices for both linear and digital.

  • Connected TV audiences are different from both linear TV and digital audiences
  • Should be measured at the persons level
  • This will assist dynamic ad insertion (DAI)

More Than Impressions: OTT in the TV Daypart Model – Roku & TVision

How does attention (measured by eyes-on-screen) and OTT translate into TV’s traditional daypart model? OTT has similar co-viewing levels as linear TV but attention to commercials is 50% higher for OTT. Why?

  • Intentional viewing
  • Can’t skip ads
  • Captive audience – channel surfing is much more difficult than in the past

These OTT advantages persist across the total day. Final points: 1) OTT is TV – mostly same viewing habits; 2) OTT has higher attention; 3) OTT breaks the linear daypart model.

Quantifying and Aligning Emotion – Magid & Warner Bros Entertainment

This paper discussed efforts by WB to help their affiliates align the local news promos shown in syndicated Warner Bros programs with the content in those programs, allowing greater synergy in brand image and increasing audience flow into local news.

For Ellen, 99% of affiliates use it to lead into local news; high levels also for Warner Bros programs Dr Phil and Judge Judy. Particularly for the feel-good Ellen, the typical “if it bleeds it leads” style of news promotion can cause cognitive dissonance and actually decrease intent to view the news.

A series of surveys and focus groups, the former making use of Magid’s Emotional DNA metric, showed that the more tonal the news promo is to the program, the better the tune-in rate. A key point is to use a positive spin in the promo, even if it’s a serious story. An example would be “Suspects identified and being pursued by police” rather than “Killers on the run!”.

The findings are being shared with news directors at the the affiliates.

In or Out? – WarnerMedia

Advanced TV includes data-driven linear TV. Audience Now is WM’s (nee Turner’s) own targeting system. Has been proven to drive outcomes – example showed 1.6x ROAS target among campaign using Audience Now vs not using it.

Uses three components: 1) Spot level measurement via EDO; 2) Nielsen Catalina data; 3) Kantor surveys.

Audio and Video at the Intersections of Digital Video and Linear TV – Omnicom & Tunity

This paper discussed out-of-home (OOH) measurement. There is a gap for OOH measures where audio cannot be heard. This is addressed by the Tunity app, which apparently streams the audio of muted programs to a user through their smartphone. The Tunity data was analyzed to look at OOH viewing behaviors.

Key takeaways:

  • Tunity app did indeed capture OOH viewing
  • A substantial amount of use of the app was “in home” as well as OOH
  • Location of viewing was a substantial influence on viewing behavior
  • Need to think about how OOH viewing can contribute to the TV audience
  • Consider including OOH into cross-platform measures

How a Truth Set Can Power Data Accuracy Verification – Ericsson Emodo

Emodo is the digital advertising arm of Ericsson. There is so much focus on media quality but so little on how we decide to buy. Segments, build requests metadata, attribution studies all dependent on data.

Raw data can be 46% inaccurate, even filtered data can be 34% inaccurate. Emodo can use Ericsson’s cell-tower-level data from all mobile service providers to validate GPS location data (their data not dependent on device, OS, carrier).

When questioned further, the presenter had difficulty articulating why Emodo’s data are a truth set: “It’s hard to explain;” “Scale and completeness”.

Takeaways: 1) Carve out data quality from media quality; 2) seek proof of data quality not just indicators; 3) recognize the key role that “truth sets” should play in scaling data

Calibrating Bias in Online Samples for High Quality Surveys at Scale – MRI/Simmons

This presentation made some very on-point points, mainly reminding people that online panels and surveys are not representative in the same way traditional probability sample are. This is a key point that from experience I know that people ignore, forget, or are not even aware of.

Sample bias tends to be narrow; in other words, most of a survey using a non-probability sample can be perfectly fine but then a few points are not representative of the real world. Analysis of data using Simmons’ National Consumer Sample showed some deviations in topic areas such as:

  • Online shopping
  • Communications
  • Video streaming
  • Use of tech
  • Numerous psychographic attributes

Use of demo weighting does not address these differences, only moderates them a little. Bottom line is do not ask questions about online uses or attitudes to a non-probability online sample.

[personal note: this argument was made for years by Knowledge Networks in support of its probability-based panel called KnowledgePanel (now part of Ipsos). Unfortunately, these arguments typically fell on deaf ears; researchers acknowledged the numerous papers put out by KN on the topic, but getting them to actually spend the extra money for KnowledgePanel sample was a much more difficult task. I wish MRI/Simmons better success than we had!]

A Segments Journey – clypd, Acxiom, MRI/Simmons

This presentation discussed taking segments from MRI to other environments. The issue: audience consistency. Offline and digital measures represent identities and attitudes differently.

They followed five segments from MRI to the Nielsen-MRI fusion, and also MRI to Acxiom to DMPs, publishers, etc.

For the segments, they evaluated the segment sizes and how well the profiles compared (using 47 variables). As for the Nielsen-MRI fusion, there was good matching. With the digital fusion, the matching was (as expected) less good. Issues included ID fuzziness, loss of scale, drop off, and impact.

Correlations for digital segments were in the range of 0.62 to 0.71 compared with the Nielsen-MRI segments which were 0.89 to 0.97. But due to the inherent differences in the datasets, it should not be expected that digital segments match the correlation of the two probability-based datasets.

Standards, Research and Rationale – George Ivie, Media Ratings Council

Need to move from gross impressions to targeted characteristics. Need to increase the quality of the digital side of measurement to that of TV. The standard is based on consistency for video exposures. Provides stronger content focus for digital, stronger ad focus for TV.

There are rules for granularity and comparability, durations and completions, practices for appending audience characteristics. Because of its establishment in current agency systems, the 30 second base is being used.

Is it for planning or currency? Both, but mainly as a currency. Planning tools, which are not the basis of sales, don’t require same rigor. Duration weighted video impressions (DWVI) is getting almost all the debate and comment, despite taking up only 4 of the 70 pages of the draft document.

Going Beyond :30s, :15s or :06s – Vas Bakopoulos, Mobile Marketing Association

This was the first study to pass the new ARF Certification Program and dealt with attention and cognitive load. Mobile ads do more in one second than we think. Attention is almost always similar and cognition follows closely.

Focus on creative in the first second. Ads that fail, fail in the first second. For longer exposures, are you overpaying for unneeded exposure if key effects are almost immediate?

Advance Toward Digital Audience Quality – Robin Opie, Oracle

Poor audience quality results from several factors:

  • Bad actors
  • Weak ID graphs
  • Over-extension of data
  • Quality of source data
  • Bad modeling

Oracle employs a number of different processes to combat bad quality, including:

  • Audience health
  • Model diagnostics
  • Ecosystem diagnostics
  • Real-world validation
  • ID graph accuracy

Grow Your Brand With Better Audience Targeting – Nishat Mehta, IRI

Top tips for targeting:

  • Quality @ scale (what is the highest quality at the highest scale?)
  • Recency of data
  • Future proofing (getting ahead of regulations – is data collected now in a way that will be legal in the future? Example – he feels traceable tender will not survive in the future)

Should a big brand be microtargeting? Does that defeat the purpose of building a big-umbrella brand? Plus he feels microtargeting is too creepy.

Paving the Way for News Organizations – Lisa Ryan Howard, NY Times

[note: This might have been the worst-presented session of the entire conference, with Ms Howard spending most of her time standing in one place, hand on hip, looking down to read the teleprompter… not the type of dynamic presenter needed at 5PM in the afternoon.]

This presentation basically reviewed the NY Times’ advertising assets, and how they have adjusted to the current digital era. A brand needs to matter… and consumers need to know what matters. The NYT has expanded into audio with podcasts, and into TV with an upcoming series on the FX network.

The NYT ReaderScope application gives advertisers insights into what topics are being read by their targets, and insights into contextual advertising.

CampaignScope is an advertising tool that profiles content and what each impression was exposed to/read. They are currently still mostly audience buys, but want to move more advertising to contextual, which they feel is more advantageous both in terms of effectiveness and the reader experience.

See Day 2 Notes here

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

What’s the Outcome of Outcomes-Based Sales?

Outcome imageAside from “attribution,” the “outcomes-based sales guarantee” seems to be the emerging hot phrase in TV sales this winter. With the upfronts only a scant two months away, we are likely to hear more about this. But do we really know what these sales teams mean?

Outcomes-based sales has been thrown around by the likes of A+E Networks, NBCU, and Hulu in recent months. Just by stint of competition, other network groups are certain to want to get in on the conversation. And let’s face it – in an ideal world, the accomplishment of intended outcomes is the best way to measure the value of a media buy.

Those Devilish Details

But the devil is in the details, and of these we know very little from the few deals that have been discussed in public. One of the things a true measure of outcomes requires is some way to assign the different elements of a campaign to a specific outcome. This leads back to our other buzzword, attribution, a nascent science that has its share of opaque blackboxes and blindspots.

But data aside, there is perhaps something more important to consider. As I note in my book The Genius Box, a full-scale outcomes-based measure of advertising should be considered a partnership between the media company, advertising brand, and its agency. There are so many elements at play that are out of the hands of the media company, it is hard to see how it, by itself, can guarantee an outcome.

Let’s quickly look at a few elements. A TV network (or AVOD service) can guarantee that it will put so many eyes of a particular target audience on an ad, in a safe brand environment, and perhaps in context relative to content. But at that point, many factors emerge that the network has no control over:

  • is the creative and the brand message of the ad interesting and compelling?
  • how well is the product priced in the marketplace?
  • do people perceive the brand well in the real world?
  • if pushing to a website or app, how well does that interface work for consumers? Is it easy to find the product online and to buy it?
  • if pushing to a retail location, are they conveniently located? Are the stores organized well so it’s easy to find the product? Are the stores clean? Is the staff welcoming and knowledgeable?

A Whopper of an Example

Let’s take a concrete example. I really like the recent Burger King ads with the (somewhat creepy) King. I see them quite often, and I used to eat at BK quite often. But in my area of the country, most BKs have closed; the ones that remain are often in run-down shape, with few customers, and workers who just go through the motions. It’s a sad place, and one I don’t really care to go to anymore. So should the TV network that put those BK ads in front of me be punished on an “outcomes” basis, when it’s really an issue with BK and its franchisees that comes between me and buying a Whopper?

Few of us are – or will be – on the inside of these deals, so it will be interesting to see how outcomes plays out in this and future upfronts, and how much detail can be gleaned. Perhaps they start with simple measures like ticket sales or digital/foot traffic. But as the requests get more complex, with a focus on actual sales, I think there will have to be a recognition that media can only guarantee part of the sales outcome equation.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

Scenes from the 2019 CIMM Summit

CIMM logoThe eighth annual CIMM Cross-Platform Video Measurement & Data Summit was held on February 7th at the Time Warner Center in New York. As always, this annual fixture in the media research industry provided an interesting discussion about the state of media measurement.

Among the recurrent themes were:

  • C-3 and C-7 measures, meant to be temporary, are now 12 years old and do not seem to be going anywhere – despite not reflecting today’s viewers
  • Greater transparency is still needed at all levels
  • The need for “ground truth panels” seems to be making a comeback
  • Attribution continues to be the hot topic in measurement

In something of a change from previous editions, no-one from Nielsen or Comscore (or any start-up measurement service for that matter) presented or was part of a panel.

The hand-outs, press releases, and deck from the summit are available on the CIMM website, as are materials from earlier summits.

This was the first CIMM Summit since CIMM was acquired by the ARF back in October. I hope that CIMM and the ARF will continue to offer this summit, and to keep it free so that all those with an interest are able to attend.

Detailed Notes

Below are notes from each of the panels/presentations. These are by necessity distilled down based on how quickly I could take notes, so they do not reflect the totality of the discussions.

After a short kick-off by CIMM CEO and Managing Director Jane Clarke, the first session featured an interview of Krishan Bhatia of NBCUniversal.

  • C-3 and C-7 are outdated by today’s viewing habits
  • C-Flight introduction by NBCU came with little pushback. There is some friction around the work but not about the concept
  • They are working on attribution, campaign measurement, and how to prove performance across all NBCU media
  • He is skeptical that there will ever again be a one-size-fits-all solution
  • 34% of NBCU consumption is now on digital – expect it to be up to 50% very soon

The next session was a panel featuring Rob Master of Unilever, David Cohen of MAGNA, and Laura Nathanson of Disney to discuss business needs for cross-measurement and metrics.

  • RM: There is no common solution. Industry needs to develop a common vernacular to discuss. Can’t be perfect – what is now? near? next?
  • LN: Disney adjusted by moving all media sales under one group. The “plumbing” is an issue – need to plumb and test
  • DC: C-3 and C-7 are no longer sufficient. Need to move to exact commercial minute measurement. In the mid-/long-term, need to look at audible and visual measures across all platforms.
  • RM: Unilever doesn’t care so much about addressability – they have broad markets
  • LN: But then Unilever should use addressability to send different creative to various segments within a broad demo
  • One key thought to close:
    • RM: Transparency and dialog around counting
    • DC: Let’s “start by starting” – need to get moving
    • LN: Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it – it’s the reason we should do it

Next, an overview of this year’s update of the CIMM TV attribution whitepaper was presented by Jim Spaeth and Alice Sylvester of Sequent Partners. Attribution then discussed by Claudio Marcus of Freewheel and Lisa Giacosa of Spark Foundry.

  • What is the state of the art of attribution?
    • LG: I’m excited and hungry [for more]
    • CM: Like in the UK train stations, “Watch the Gap”. There are gaps in cross-platform attribution, and brand/longer-term effects
  • CM: Biggest effect so far on automotive. Auto had moved money from TV to digital – but attribution showed TV drove the digital exposures. Moving back to TV. Media & Entertainment another area – TV program promotion
  • LG: Need to understand content effects. Can’t just follow short-term ROI over a cliff.
  • JS: Need to use baseline sales as a basis for calculating incremental effects of attribution media

Following a break, there were brief updates of the Taxi Complete (AD-ID and EIDR) and Data Label initiatives.

Another panel discussed Deduplicating Reach for Content and Ads, featuring Radha Subramanyam of CBS, Eric Cavanaugh of Publicis, Beth Rockwood of Turner, and Ed Gaffney of GroupM and moderated by Scott McDonald of the ARF.

  • EC: A good quality attribution should be getting deduplication as a byproduct
  • BR: how things fit together is a big issue
  • RS: need both counting and outcome measures. But we need to up-level the conversation: There are lots of products and data, but are we any closer to making sense of media and marketing together? Need a commonsense playbook at a high level.
  • EG: Need dedup in place before this years upfront – or 2020 upfront.
  • RS: Vendors need to listen closely to needs. Their solutions are not necessarily addressing the needs.
  • EC: We also need to know about content to be able to place ads in context.
  • EG: Blindspots are getting smaller but there are new ones popping up every day
  • EC: We are getting one-off fixes to blindspots but need integrated response
  • RS: Integrating projectable and non-projectable samples is doable but needs more investment
  • BR: The technical issues of integration are easier than making the theory work
  • RS: In terms of privacy, one-to-many is less threatening than true one-to-one marketing

Is there One Metric to Rule Them All? Kavita Vazirani of NBCU, Brian Hughes of MAGNA, George Ivie of the MRC, and Sheryl Feldinger of Google discussed this topic.

  • BH: Need exact minute commercial ratings
  • SF: Need equitable (with TV) transparency at exposure and second-by-second ratings
  • KV: Need to measure effort vs return. Shouldn’t we be focusing on cross-platform measures rather than arguing about TV measures?
  • BH: already does second-by-second with MediaOcean, which is an old platform – so it can be done today
  • GI: MRC is working on standard definitions with partners and industry, aiming for impression-based duration-weighted data by 2021. Measures to include exposure, viewability, duration-weighting, complete exposure to an ad.
  • SF: Wants absolute exposure. His work shows that a 5 or 10 second exposure elicits a similar response, regardless of the total length of an ad
  • KV: Disagrees. She claims the only time a 6 second ad worked was as part of a larger integrated campaign
  • GI: There is a big gap in content measurement in digital. For content measurement in a cross-platform world, customer journey analysis is something that should be syndicated (eg, third party)
  • All: agree audio status needs to be known (muted vs non-muted)

The last panel talked about Audience-Based Buying Platforms for TV/Video. This panel included Bryson Gordon of Viacom, Mike Law of Dentsu Aegis, Bob Ivins of NCC Media, and Mike Welch of Xandr.

  • BI: Inertia is real. Need to get marketers to “cross the bridge” and not turn back halfway across. We need standards and transparency.
  • MW: Can help reach low incidence/low viewing HHs
  • BI: Need an automated platform like Google and Facebook. Still too much manual transfers between different applications
  • BG: users on OpenAP have already created 1,872 segments
  • Opportunities in 2019
    • BI: More inventory and optimization
    • ML: Platform, optimization, interactivity
    • BG: Automated workflows, cross-platform delivery, unified posting
    • MW: Platform, true cross-platform delivery

To wrap up the afternoon, Jack Smith of GroupM told us about what he saw at the 2019 CES conference.

  • The three areas to pay most attention to are Assistants (Alexa, etc); Autonomy (self-driving cars); and Simulation (VR/AR).
  • It is important to understand how algorithms work – what products are suggested when Alexa is asked to buy something. Should brands have an avatar to speak for themselves, rather than relying on Amazon etc.
  • Most everything will still be on screens. How are these to be measured?
  • Top takeaways: 1) Interface revolution. 2) Immersion environments. 3) The ethics of tech in general.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

Sports Sponsorship Risks Flip in LA

The risk to brands of a sports sponsorship is that an athlete may end up causing reputational damage by bad behavior. In Los Angeles, the risk may be coming not from athletes but from university administrators and coaches.

United Airlines agreed in January 2018 to acquire the naming rights to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for $70 million. The naming rights are owned by the University of Southern California, acquired in 2013 as a result of the owners of the Coliseum (the state and the county) not performing significant upgrades to the facility as required by USC’s lease.

Despite having only one permanent tenant – USC’s football team – the Coliseum’s naming rights are relatively lucrative. Foremost, this is because of the national TV exposure USC’s football team gets, even in its off years. Also figuring in would be the history of the Coliseum. It’s a National Historic Landmark, having been home to the Trojans since 1923. At various times, it has also been the home the Rams and the Raiders of the NFL, the Dodgers of MLB, two Summer Olympics, two Super Bowls, UCLA, and – who could forget – the LA Express of the USFL. And not to be overlooked is its location under the normal approach path into LAX, able to showcase a United logo to incoming passengers of all airlines.

The Risk Flips

At first, the reaction was quite negative against United’s sponsorship. It came right around the time as a number of United PR gaffes, including the infamous dragging of a passenger off a plane and the death of a pet by placing it in an overhead bin. It seemed USC was getting the bad end of deal by getting into bed with United.

Let’s move the clock ahead a year. The United renaming goes into effect this Fall, as a fully renovated Coliseum opens for the football season with the Trojans and (for one more temporary year) the NFL’s Rams. The situation has really flipped. Here is what United is now associated with in terms of the Coliseum’s main tenant, USC.

Less serious than the above, but important to the value of the sponsorship, is a steep decline in the performance USC’s football team. Both the coach and the AD are overmatched, and little has been done to address the problems with the team. This is leading to a feeling of revolt among the boosters and fans. It could lead to the first year of the United sponsorship seeing the Coliseum half-empty for USC games, and many fans booing their own coaches. This could mean fewer appearances on ABC or ESPN, and more on the PAC12 Network. Try and find that on your TV’s program guide.

The Payoff

The bright spot, with the Rams in the Super Bowl next week, is that United may get the benefit of a Super Bowl champion for one season. This is before the Rams move to their own stadium near LAX (a stadium as yet without a naming sponsor).

As we see above, the risk can sometimes go both ways with sports or celebrity sponsorships. With naming rights, which typically run for a decade or more, the period of exposure to this risk can be lengthy – and even start before the name goes on the building.

UPDATE: Adding to USC’s woes since this was published is its implication in the college admissions bribery scandal that made headlines in March, including a key athletic administrator and current/past USC coaches.

[Disclosure: I am a graduate, and big fan, of USC]

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

Most Popular Posts of 2018

2018 is coming to a close and it’s time to take a look back. Which TiceVision blog posts have had the most interest in the past year?

Third Place

In a virtual tie for third place are two posts:

3a. Quick Takes from the ARF AudienceXScience Conference – as the name implies, in this June post I share some of my thoughts on the 2018 edition of this long-running conference, the good (as always, some interesting sessions) and the bad (its lack of diversity in companies and presenters).

3b. Drake vs The Beatles: Let it Be – A post from July, I take issue with press comparisons that claim Drake outdoes The Beatles. These comparisons don’t take into account differences in how the Hot 100 is calculated now vs the 1960s.

Second Place

2. In second place for the year is Dave the Research Grouch: Another Data Fluff Piece. This post, one of the generally popular “Dave the Research Grouch” series, takes exception to press coverage of a data release by Inscape, Vizio’s division which monetizes their TV set viewing data.

First Place

My most popular post of the year, by a margin of almost 2-to-1 over the runners-up, is Foreverspin Tops? More Like Forever Annoying Ads. This post has the longest legs of my 2018 posts, with at least a reader or two every week since being published last February. In the post, I take issue with the bad side of digital advertising, exemplified by the Foreverspin Tops ads that followed me for years.

Happy Holidays!

Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another winter holiday, I hope all my readers have – or have had – an enjoyable holiday season. And best wishes for your happiness and success in 2019!

  • Don’t miss any of my 2019 posts by signing up for email notifications here
  • Haven’t read my new book about TV, The Genius Box? It’s available in paperback and e-book formats. Book details and ordering info here

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.

ARF-CIMM is good news, but let’s get CREative

The ARF logoThere was interesting news in the audience measurement business yesterday. Several outlets covered the announcement that the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) will acquire the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM). As a couple of articles noted, this is a continuation of the trend in consolidation in many sectors of the media business.

CIMM logoI’ve been on the sharp end of trying to sell syndicated research studies to a decreasing pool of clients because of consolidation. I can imagine that CIMM was dealing with a similar issues among its membership in the wake of the Disney-Fox, Discovery-Scripps, and other recent deals. The ARF, facing an increased battle to be relevant, gets a high-profile, major initiative “off the shelf.” It seems to be a win-win situation for both sides.

CRE logoLet’s Get CREative

But let’s be adventurous and go for a trifecta. There are also the assets of the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) sitting out there, in the wake of its defunding by Nielsen at the end of 2017. These would be a nice complement to the CIMM’s body of work. In my own viewpoint, I tended to think of the CRE as dealing more with the micro issues of audience measurement while CIMM took much broader, macro brushstrokes. At the least, the CRE’s work deserves an archival home if (when?) the plug is finally pulled on the CRE website.

In any case, congratulations to the ARF and CIMM on their new marriage. Let’s hope this blended family adds some new audience research to its existing initiatives.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
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Dave the Research Grouch: iSpot.TV and MediaPost

Fall is in the air, Christmas ads have started on TV, and the Research Grouch has emerged Grinch-like from his cave. Today’s offenders are iSpotTV and MediaPost – because it always takes a company looking for publicity and a news outlet to publish it.

iSpot.TV logoThursday’s story in MediaPost, “Shorter TV Ads Command More Viewer Attention,” discussed findings from iSpot.TV’s analysis of “37,854 TV commercials across 4.7 million TV ad airings.” The first alarm bells go off. Usually, when huge numbers are tossed around, it’s often to try to legitimize sketchier numbers to follow – as if large sample sizes are some sort of guarantee of quality.

Strike Out

The article noted several differences in “Attention Score” – a score which was undefined. I don’t expect to be told how it’s calculated, but I do expect to be told how “attention” is defined, since presumably these are calculated solely from digital data and not from tracking eye-gaze. Strike one on MediaPost.

Strike two comes from the conclusion that 10 second commercials have a better Attention Score than do 30 second ads. The scores are “91.0 to 91.5” and “90.0”, respectively. But no context is given in the article as to what is a significant difference. Delving into iSpot.TV’s own report, they do actually say a difference of “a few points is significant.” Assuming “a few” has its typical meaning, this would be 3 to 4 points. Applying this to the headline finding, and the difference of 1 to 1.5 points is not really significant.

Another difference called out as “much more notable”, between the 10 second spots and 60 second spots (a score of 88 to 88.5, and thus a difference of 1.5 to 2 points), appears to also not be significant.

Strike three on the MediaPost article, or at least a foul tip, is not questioning the inclusion of 10 second ads. Does anyone actually sell those? I’ve heard of 6s, 15s, and 30s, but I’ve not read about 10s being a standard length for TV commercials. A curious choice by iSpot.TV.

Credit Where It’s Due

I will give some credit to iSpot.TV for publishing a report on which the MediaPost article was based (free to download if you give them your email info). And they get credit for including the significance information that was lacking in the article. However, nowhere in the report, or anywhere on the iSpot.TV website, is the derivation of the Attention Score addressed. To me, attention is only measured by actual eyes-on or ears-on an ad. I’m very curious how it is defined in this case.

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, I don’t expect writers to be experts on research, but there should be some level of intellectual curiosity rather than just regurgitating a press release. And I don’t expect companies to give away proprietary information, but if you’re going to publicize something, at least give enough information to answer some basic research questions about your service.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
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Label Surveys As Well As Data

It was with great interest I read of the new “data transparency label.” This label is being released for comment by several of the media alphabet associations – the AMA, ARF, and CIMM.

data transparency label example

In the manner of the nutrition labels mandated by the FDA, these labels are hoped to increase clarification about the torrent of data being aimed at big data applications in media, particularly advertising targeting. Adopting a very brief but standard reporting structure, the labels will give users of data a high-level assessment of the quality of the numbers being injected into their algorithmic black boxes. (And by the way, notice there is no equivalent transparency effort about those black boxes; but that’s another story.)

Survey Nutrition Too?

This is important news in that corner of the research, data, and analytics world. What would I like to see? An equivalent nutrition label for publicly released surveys, perhaps sponsored by the Insights Association (the 2017 amalgamation of CASRO and the MRA). The label would provide a required minimal level of information to release with research conducted by its members. This would include items such as:

  • Who paid or sponsored the poll
  • A description of the sample
  • Mode of collection
  • Probability or non-probability sample
  • Dates for fielding
  • Standard error for probability samples, or some “equivalent” for non-probability samples

This information should be enough to quickly evaluate the bias and relative level of quality of a publicly released survey. In fact, some of this information may already be required, but in reality is rarely available in press articles or from the entity releasing the survey.

Too Busy to Process

The Press is too inundated with press releases and too busy filling a 24/7 demand for content to bother to evaluate PR surveys anymore (read MediaPost‘s disclaimer on their Research Intelligencer newsletter). It’s all just grist for the content mill. But maybe with a very simple label, they will be tempted to think once in a while. At the least, we could do the thinking with the right information.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
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My New Book, “The Genius Box”

The Genius Box coverAs a reader of my blog, I hope you will be as excited as I am about the publication of my first book, The Genius Box: How the “Idiot Box” Got Smart & Is Changing the Television Business – not by coincidence being launched during the debut week of the Fall broadcast season.

Put very briefly, the book explores the evolution of the TV set and of the relationship between viewers and their sets… and the impact of this evolution on various stakeholders in the TV ecosystem such as content creators, content distributors, advertisers, measurement companies, CE companies, and the government.

I’ve had this book in my head for several years and finally had the opportunity to tackle the task of writing the book in the months following my departure from the corporate research world last fall. We all know TV is being disrupted; I found out so too are books, thus I self-published this book – but more on that in a subsequent blog post.

The Genius Box is currently available in paperback or Kindle format at Amazon, or in e-book format at B&N and Apple iBooks. Over the coming weeks, it will become available at most major online book sellers.

More details on the book, and resources for the press or reviewers, can also be found on The Genius Box pages on the TiceVision website here.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Get notifications of new posts – sign up at right or at bottom of this page.