Member Guest Blog with FreeWheel – Will Cross-Media Measurement Level The Playing Field?

In this week’s member guest post, we are delighted to welcome Emmanuel Josserand, Snr Dir. Agency, Brand and Industry Relations for FreeWheel and Lead for the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. 

As well as being a very valued member of IAB Europe’s industry committees, Emmanuel oversees engagement with media agencies, brands and industry bodies at FreeWheel – driving alignment between the buy-side and sell-side requirements in the premium TV advertising ecosystem. In this capacity, Emmanuel leads the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Europe, bringing together broadcasters, telco- and pay TV operators. He also heads up Comcast Advertising’s Agency Leadership Council in Europe, a forum of buy-side television and digital experts – including senior executives across the major and independent agencies – to exchange ideas, thought leadership and to advance the TV industry as a whole.

Prior to joining Freewheel in 2015, Emmanuel held senior positions at global technology providers such as Civolution (today 4C Insights/Kinetiq), where he was in charge of the company’s global brand building, and ArcSoft Europe, where he supported business development through strategic partnerships and major product launches.

Will cross-media measurement level the playing field?

You can’t manage what you can’t measure – as the saying goes – so with efficient campaign management more crucial to advertisers than ever before, effective ad measurement solutions are critical to drive performance.

As the advertising landscape becomes ever more complex, there are virtually endless opportunities for ad messaging to reach a consumer via different channels, platforms and devices. Without robust measurement solutions to accurately determine de-duplicated reach, there is a risk of consumers being bombarded with the same ad from multiple directions, which results not only in wasted spend but also a poor user experience. Measurement continues to be one of the most critical issues for the buy-side. In a recent exclusive FreeWheel study conducted by Co-lab Consulting2, measurement was seen as the first inhibitor of advanced TV growth for advertisers and agencies in Europe (see Fig1).

Fig 1: Inhibitors to Advanced TV spend growth, FreeWheel survey, conducted by Co-Lab consulting, October 2020

With cross-media measurement proving a thorny issue, the whole media ecosystem is looking for workable solutions and buyers are now leading the debate. The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) released an advertiser-centric framework for cross-media measurement planning and reporting, with a set of global principles that could be adapted for local implementation. The progressive framework is intended as a catalyst for local development of a new wave of cross-media measurement solutions, and it is accompanied by a technical design proposal which was developed alongside digital platforms. It is currently being tested in various regions, with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) driving testing in the US and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) validating the framework in the UK through Project Origin.

There are various ad measurement solutions already in place or under development, most notably NBCUniversal and Sky’s CFlight, which is designed to determine total campaign reach across linear TV and video-on-demand (VOD). Let’s take a look at: what this means; some of the ways cross-media measurement solutions will need to evolve over the coming months; and how these ties into the principles of the WFA framework.

Alignment with local standards

First, it is worth highlighting that the WFA framework is intended to complement, rather than replace, existing measurement tools and standards, such as IPA Touchpoints, BARB, UKOM and the various Joint Industry Currencies (JICs). Any cross-media measurement solutions will need to maintain the rigorous local standards currently applied to linear TV, such as the BARB gold standard in the UK. It is essential, as indicated, that the WFA proposal recognises that measurement needs local governance to work alongside global components that will drive scale and consistency.

A collaborative approach

The new TV ecosystem is at the crossroads between linear and digital. It is on-demand, connected and addressable, and offers incredible opportunities for advertisers to buy specific audiences across a single and integrated platform. Bringing all screens together will help advertisers and agencies achieve a greater understanding of their audiences. However, it implies a major shift in planning, transacting and reporting, with a common framework for holistic campaign measurement across all channels, platforms and devices.

Preparing for this currency change will require a collaborative approach across the entire industry, with competitors compelled to work together to find common ground. Industry alliances are already being created, and UK broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 joining CFlight to ensure a common principles and standards, is a good example of that. The WFA framework will require a comprehensive solution, that encompasses TV (in all its forms BVOD, CTV/OTT, AVOD…) and digital and is not limited to video, so close collaboration between all parties is necessary to bring this about. The accompanying proposal also suggests any aspects of solutions that require bespoke technology should be open source, so advertisers can easily access their own data and reports.

Independent verification

For any measurement solution to be neutral, with fair and objective metrics – as required by the framework – it needs to be independently verified by a trusted third party. This verification is something TV measurement JICs across Europe, including the CFlight measurement solution, have always adhered to, to ensure integrity of the data and insights. Governance is key and some form of a JIC bringing together TV and online platforms is critical for the future of video measurement and to provide a common framework. Nobody should be marking their own homework.

There are many different forms of measurement used for a variety of needs. Different media are measured differently and the industry, and advertisers in particulars, have to get used to live with an array of measurement solutions. The key is to bring cohesion between the various systems.

Cross-media measurement should not be seen as just about the value of media, but rather about efficiency. It could create a level playing field for different measurements – should all parties adhere to the same rules – enabling advertisers to clearly understand the role and reach of each media platforms and the performance against set objectives. For media owners it is about demonstrating the audience they reach and the context in which they reach that audience.

By putting advertiser needs firmly at the heart of any measurement solutions being developed, the framework set out by the WFA merits the full support of the whole industry. Implementation of the framework will enable advertisers to effectively manage campaigns and understand where best to invest budgets, and will eliminate ad bombardment and excessive frequency, ultimately restoring consumer trust in advertising.

 

 

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