Bringing Accountability into the Living Room

When media go digital, accountability follows. In respect to the digitalization of TV, we’ve discussed interactivity, increased relevance, and on-demand media. Equally as powerful is this mandate: bring accountability to the living room.

One of digital media’s greatest benefits is its ability to track key performance indicators (KPIs) at a granular level. Metrics like clicks and post-click conversions provide powerful details on direct response campaign performance. We can even use this level of detail to get better performance insights for brand campaigns, looking across such factors as interaction rates and times, delayed visits/conversions, and test and control surveys. It all fuels constant campaign optimization while in-market and provides insights and lessons for future campaigns.

Online, there’s a decent level of standardization across basic metrics. The industry is pushing hard to drive the next level of analytics, which are much more complicated but have tremendous value in getting to actual ROI (define). We’re wrestling with advanced analytics issues like the stacking effect of multiple channels and attribution of multiple touch points.

The digital TV world, in contrast, is still in the very early stages. There’s very little standardization. It’s like the early days of the Web. But the data that’s out there can already provide critical insights toward optimizing campaigns. Better systems and faster turnaround times are on the way.

Below, a sampling of sources and some potential insights and applications of the various data types.

TiVo StopWatch

The company enlisted a panel of 20,000 TiVo households to anonymously share their viewing behavior (tracked automatically by the DVR). TiVo rolls that behavior into a massive data warehouse and provides a Web-based portal to marketers and agencies that subscribe to its StopWatch service. You can slice and dice viewing behavior any number of ways and quickly drill down to what percentage of the audience actually watched your spot (as opposed to changing channels or fast-forwarding).

This is an incredibly powerful tool that can fuel media buy optimization and provide insights into creative performance. You can quickly evaluate actual commercial viewership broken down by daypart, network, specific program, specific creative, pod position, and more. It won’t necessarily tell you how effective your spots are at generating a desired response, but it will tell you what percentage of the eyeballs you’re paying for are actually watching.

Imagine being able to see, for example, that during a particular show on your media plan, 20 percent of viewers fast-forward through commercials overall. But when it comes to your spots, 40 percent of viewers fast-forward. This could flag a creative issue, a frequency concern, or perhaps a bad pod position, all tweaks you can make moving forward to ensure maximum viewership. This is only scratches the surface of potential valuable insights.

Interactive Spot Data

Technologies that facilitate interaction on top of TV spots also provide response data that’s analogous to Web data. Your spot becomes a gateway to a deeper, richer experience, and suddenly a medium that was previously limited to GRP (define) projections now provides a whole new level of accountability. How many people who saw your interactive spot actually chose to interact? Did they take further action?

VOD Data

As marketers strive to earn consumers’ attention (rather than buy it outright), understanding how individual content pieces perform will become extremely important. Say you produce five different content pieces, each 3:00 to 5:00 and each covering a slightly different topic or product angle, and you want to know what drives consumer engagement with your brand. VOD (define) analytics can help to shed light on this. It’s actually similar to Web site analytics in terms of its ability to quickly determine what information is most interesting and valuable to consumers. Smart marketers are already leveraging insights from Web analytics across their entire marketing universe.

Sample report types:

  • Asset performance analysis: Examines viewing duration as a percentage of content length. Shows which VOD assets tend to be watched most completely.
  • Asset performance over time: Shows what percentage of viewers continue to watch the content after x number of seconds, plotted over time. This can be extremely useful for detailed analysis of creative performance. It’s easy to see significant drops in viewership, so you see where people become bored with the content. Interestingly, most VOD assets have some level of drop off right around :30. TV spots have effectively trained viewers that we only deserve attention in :30 increments!
  • Branded navigational units (BNU) analysis: Examines the performance of spots dedicated to driving traffic to VOD content. Typically broken down by daypart so you can quickly optimize your BNU media campaign by loading up in your most effective timeslot.
  • As TV continues its unstoppable march toward full digitalization, we can’t help but recognize the stunning similarities between the skills needed to make online marketing work and those required to make digital TV campaigns work at their peak performance level. We’re excited by the transition and have already started helping some clients make the most of what’s possible today while laying a foundation for future success.

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