Cynopsis Measurement and Data Conference: The Executive Summary
On Tuesday, the top minds in media and advertising gathered at the Edison Ballroom in New York for Cynopsis’ annual Measurement and Data Conference. It was a day jam-packed with insights, and if you blinked, you might have missed something. But not to worry — we’ve rounded up the key takeaways and quotes from the day’s speakers.
Sponsored by a4 Advertising, Adjust, Conviva, Cross Screen Media, DISQO, Gamut TOTAL, Innovid, iSpot.tv, Kochava, Nexstar Digital, Nielsen, NY Interconnect, Premion, TV One, VAB and Vizio, the conference’s in-person event probed the most relevant questions facing media today.
From the best methodologies in audience measurement to emerging strategies for advertising across the converged TV environment, keep reading to learn how best to calibrate advertising spend and measurement today.
The Best Alternative Currencies — and Who Are They Best for?
In the day’s inaugural session, Video Advertising Bureau President and CEO Sean Cunningham kicked off the conference with a conversation on the shifting television landscape — and what it means for marketers and media decision-making.“
There’s so much excitement, but there’s also a little bit of confusion,” Cunningham said of the changing ecosystem. “One of the first things we need clarity on is the difference between measurement and currency,” he said.“
I like to think that you start with measurement, but currency layers on top of measurement,” said Eric Cavanaugh, SVP of Global Research and Data Sciences at Publicis Media. “Measurement denotes accuracy, but currency denotes stability.”
Discussing alternative currencies and metrics for measuring engagement and ad impact, the panel focused on the necessity of data collaboration to foster more comprehensive analysis of what ad dollars are yielding across linear and digital platforms.“
Diversity of data is changing, but it still needs to be stable and scalable,” Paramount VP of Measurement and Innovation Mark Georgiev said. With that caution came optimism and resolve. “We’re committed to a multi-currency future, full stop,” Georgiev added.
In a fractured media landscape, capturing accurate measurements across converged TV presents nuanced challenges that continue to evolve with the emergence of new platforms. “We want to account for every eyeball,” said Steve Silvestri, SVP of Advanced Advertising at Discovery, of the industry-wide goal to comprehensively understand viewership. “We know that there’s value in eyeballs that have been unaccounted for in the past.”
The panelists agreed they have their work cut out for them. With the dawn of many alternative currencies, “over the next year, it’s going to be crucial to pressure-test them to see if they’re viable for industry standards,” said Matt Denerstein, Managing Partner and Portfolio Investment Lead at Mindshare. “I think it’s a good thing we’re being forced to change.”
Exclusive Research Release: Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM)
In this preview of July’s Guide to Converged TV Measurement Providers report, CIMM Managing Director Jon Watts highlighted key findings on cross-platform approaches for today’s evolving media ecosystem. By looking at the measurement strategies of eight different companies, “?the goal of the guide is to help to unpack the very significant differences between the providers,” Watts said.
Watts was joined by Joan FitzGerald, Founder and CEO of Data ImpacX. “Part of what’s going on with these providers is different prioritization,” FitzGerald said, explaining the span in approaches across the eight providers surveyed. Data resources also vary across providers, which impacts decision making, she said.
The New Definition of Audience
As viewers consume content in an increasingly fragmented media landscape, we look to a new question: What does audience mean today? And perhaps more importantly, how can we measure audiences to better understand and serve them?
Discussing the best methodologies for gauging diverse audience engagement across linear, non-linear, digital and social media platforms, this panel focused on driving ROI for marketers and optimizing programmatic content. “As we move into this cross-platform world, it’s going to be very important to figure out how we optimize reach,” said moderator Bill Harvey, Chairman of RMT.
When it comes to what new measurements in this space need to be able to demonstrate, “it’s all about business outcomes and how that attribution model really does matter,” said Roseann Montenes, VP of Precision & Performance Advertiser Partnerships at A + E Networks. “You have to make sure you’re talking to the right individual people within the household,” she said, challenging the once-standard “household data” unit.
Ensuring advertisers are serving viewers effectively first requires comprehensive measurement of engagement. “As a collective industry, it’s still about counting who and how many people are watching as a starting point,” said Yee Pang, Research Group Director at GroupM.
First, the challenge is to “find out what programming is most engaging,” said Jon Marks, CRO at Scripps. “Only then can we deliver on an audience that has commercial opportunities.”
For Betsy Rella, VP of Research & Data at New York Interconnect (NYI), audience metrics need to be not only accurate but also practical. “As we’re evaluating different measurement providers, what’s always top of mind for me is that it has to be operationalized,” she said. “The data has to be integrated into the planning and buying systems.”
Modern Methodologies in Cross-Screen Measurement
From tablets and AVOD to smartphones and CTV, the number of screens on which viewers consume content is growing. Moderator Jon Watts, Managing Director at CIMM, introduced the challenge of audience measurement in the multi-screen ecosystem, which necessitates new practices for accurately assessing engagement as well as understanding emerging forms of media interaction to better predict the future.“
Everyone knows it’s a time of huge change,” Watts said. In the CTV and streaming space, “it’s clear that there’s a significant spike in both viewing and ad spend,” he said.
Watts was joined by Kochava’s Managing Director, Americas, Trevor Hamilton. “There’s a lot of commonality with how the mobile ecosystem has evolved over the past dozen years to what CTV hardware players and OTT publishers are doing now,” Hamilton said. “On the CTV side, there’s a lot going on right now. It’s like an arms race, as it relates to optionality and piggy backing on all things coming over from digital.”
Turning to data for answers, the quest becomes more qualitative than quantitative as advertisers seek to connect with specific audiences in meaningful ways rather than focusing simply on numbers like total reach. The strategy behind this means giving brands, publishers, and platforms the data-driven insights needed to assess outcomes and activate successful campaigns in a multi-platform landscape.
Cross-screen management in the modern age involves “a whole new wave of understanding the tech that’s in front of you and being able to pull insights,” Hamilton said.“
It’s clearly complex but incredibly exciting,” Watts added.
Impressions — the Great Equalizer?
As media evolves, so too do the units of measurement for analyzing it. TV advertisers once bought programs and then audiences; now, they can get as granular as purchasing impressions.“
Are impressions much ado about nothing or really a big deal?” moderator Paul Donato, ARF CRO, asked his panelists.
Representing the industry’s ratings giant, Nielsen’s Chief Data and Research Officer Mainak Mazumdar spoke on his company’s approach to understanding impressions. “The challenge is to translate it into people,” Mazumdar said. From subscriber data to household information, the question becomes, “Who’s watching the ad?”
Still, there are nuances that elude metrics. “Sitting next to each other and watching TV is an analog experience not captured by digital ad servers,” said Asaf Davidov, Director of Ad Measurement & Research at Roku, arguing that we must pay special attention to the human elements of an impression. Factors like viewing context must be considered if we are to truly understand an impression’s potential and how to use the metric effectively.“
We need to move to an impression-based economy, but there’s a lot of work we need to do to get there to make sure people understand what that means,” said Adam Gerber, Executive Director of US Investment Strategy at GroupM. “Because nothing is defined the same way, none of the ballparks are interoperable. That’s the challenge,” he said. Nevertheless, advertisers and platforms alike are approaching today’s impression head-on, activating its growth potential while tackling its challenges.
Attention, Streaming Marketers: Can You Read the Context Signals?
Since the emergence of media, context has played a crucial role in the interpretation and understanding of meaning. And now, digital advertising is witnessing a resurgence of contextual targeting, which allows marketers to tailor ads to audiences based on the content they consume. For diverse populations consuming a variety of content, contextual targeting can meet the individual where they are and deliver a resonant message.
Today, “contextual targeting enjoys a renaissance,” said moderator Jim Meyer, Managing Director at Golden Square. Meyer reflected that before the internet, “the art of the game was to figure out what properties, placements, and editorial content would engage your audience, the actual humans on the other side of the media,” Meyer said. “This is a way marketers have thought for a long time.”
The ability to work around privacy concerns makes contextual targeting a standout in today’s market. “Most of us aren’t really prepared in the ways we need to be prepared to deal with business continuity post-cookie death,” said Megan Fediuk, Group Director of Marketing & Intelligence at Wavemaker. “We need to be more proactive in how we prepare for targeting and filling in those gaps for when those cookies go away,” she added.
Zooming out from the solution that contextual targeting provides for new privacy concerns, the methodology is also perhaps more in line with holistic understandings of the viewing experience. “It’s about the viewer journey,” said Darren Olive, EVP of National Ad Sales and Strategy at Crackle Plus. “We’re going back to some of that old-school inherent thought of building brands and putting them into content that’s relevant to the viewer.”
Changing the TV Game: Modernizing Currency and Measurement
Across streaming and digital platforms, the stage has widened for TV advertising. While this presents immense opportunity, how do advertisers and publishers accurately measure audience engagement and prove ad value without a single currency that can establish a unified source of truth for TV ad performance?
“We agree that we need a new standard in advertising measurement,” said moderator and Cynopsis Publisher Robbie Caploe. Caploe was joined by Stu Schwartzapfel, SVP of Media Partnerships at iSpot.tv, and Mark Marshall, President of Advertising & Client Partnerships at NBCUniversal, who both spoke about iSpot.tv becoming NBCUniversal’s official measurement provider.
During COVID, “we were having challenges with measurement,” Marshall said. “At the same time, we had clients who were asking for more granular details.” Facing those two obstacles in concert, “we decided that we really needed to do something,” he said. And that something was to partner with iSpot.tv for measurement and analytics.“
We have to provide clients with better information about their media,” Schwartzapfel said of the solution his company delivered to NBCUniversal.
iSpot.tv’s measurement methodologies were put in place for campaigns running during the Olympics and the Super Bowl this past winter, two huge properties for the network. And the trial was a success. “It was much broader than counting. It was able to provide the feedback loop in real time” across linear and streaming, Marshall said.
How Metrics Are Changing the Workplace
As the digital sphere grows and new data points proliferate, we must ask the question: What types of information matter in media? Beyond simply collecting data, the challenge of interpreting quantitative findings requires a nuanced understanding of context.
In a lively lunchtime conversation, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies Caitlin Petre posed the salient question, “What does this era of multi-currency measurement mean for the cultural elements of the television industry?”
Drawing on her extensive ethnographic research into the institutional contexts that form around data and metrics in news organizations, Petre shared best practices for bringing new metrics into the workplace. “Any metrics tool that’s introduced should be linked to a clear goal,” she said. “The conversations need to happen early and often.”
In addition, organizations should “provide access to data as well as clear expectations about what data matters most and what data is being used for,” she added.
As Petre found in her research, journalism is relying increasingly on performance metrics to inform how to tell the truth, which is causing institutional overtones to come into play. Who gets to decide which measurements matter, and why? “Metrics don’t come with meaning attached. Meaning has to be deduced by organizations,” she said.
Ultimately, Petre advises, we must “acknowledge that there are things data can leave out.”
Quantifying CTV Ad Impact Through Outcomes Measurement
When it comes to marketing in the connected TV space, advertisers are keen to see proven ad value. And with today’s audiences tuning in all different ways on a number of devices, gathering data requires new tools. When it comes to proving a campaign’s success, advertisers and platforms alike need to be armed with the most up-to-date measurement solutions.
For DISQO VP of Brand & Marketing Communications David Grabert, this requires embracing outcomes as a key measurement strategy for navigating the relatively new space of CTV. Outcomes measurement means “connecting brand impact and behavioral impact,” Grabert said.
Outcomes go beyond simple viewership to reveal larger downstream trends in campaign effectiveness, including activity like page views, searches, and purchases that may have been prompted by the original marketing content, he explained.
By embracing outcomes, DISQO’s ad measurement product “is a single-source opportunity to connect what people are thinking to how they’re interacting with the campaign,” he added. In particular, Grabert highlighted the capabilities for “measuring brand lifts and outcomes lift.”
Advertising on CTV/OTT Platforms: Who’s Winning the Race for Ad Dollars?
The CTV market is growing rapidly. How can platforms and publishers play that to their advantage? While streaming is the norm for many media companies, inspiring confidence in advertisers is crucial for media’s robust transition into the digital sphere.
PARQOR Founder Andrew Rosen moderated a panel on what’s required to draw ad dollars into the modern market of CTV/OTT streaming. “I want to understand, from the simplest perspective, where the ad dollars go,” he said.“
Advertisers are going to go where value is being proven to them,” answered Ken Norcross, Senior Director of Inscape Data Strategy at Vizio. “Data is the key ingredient for each of these platforms to prove value to advertisers,” he said.
So, platforms need to engage with robust measurement solutions to prove continual value to their advertisers—but, of course, it’s not as simple as just acquiring the data. “We’ve got all this data, but we have to be able to make it actionable for the advertisers,” said Jo Kinsella, President of TVSquared by Innovid. “We’re seeing more and more dollars go to CTV. Why? You can optimize quickly, and you can make adjustments,” she added.
When it comes to presenting actionable data to advertisers, outcomes measurement is king. “Folks are gravitating more toward the outcomes measurement solutions,” said Wil Danielsen, SVP of Digital Sales at Nexstar Digital. “I look at it as whatever’s going to be most beneficial for the brand is the best outcome.”
Driving Proof of Performance: What’s New with Outcomes-Based Measurement in CTV
CTV is bringing performance marketing capabilities and measurement to what has historically been viewed as a powerful brand marketing channel. “We’re seeing that marketers are continuing to allocate bigger and bigger budgets to streaming,” said Cynopsis Publisher Robbie Caploe. As that market grows, part of the transition is to outcomes-based measurement.
Along with Premion Regional Sales Director Ed Ziskind, Caploe took us to the front lines of outcomes measurement and audience targeting, where data-driven advertising is changing the game.
In the CTV space, “the growth is exponential in terms of the impressions we serve to our clients,” Ziskind said. “We take the lift that we can attribute to CTV compared to linear and knock somebody’s socks off with that information.”
In addition to proving outcomes and predicting behavior, cross-platform data enables publishers and platforms to demonstrate value to marketers. In a fragmented media landscape, “back-end attribution has been instrumental,” Ziskind added.
In terms of what’s next for the market, Ziskind discussed subscription fatigue and inflation, and looked to the world of free ad-supported streaming as a space of opportunity.
Programmatic Advertising in 2022
From proving ROAS to providing in-depth engagement metrics, advertisers and publishers need more tools than ever to navigate the streaming world. Automation and artificial intelligence hold the power to lighten the load, allowing marketers to focus on ideas and relationships rather than the hassle of procurement and placement.
In this panel on automation in digital advertising, moderator and IAB VP of Programmatic & Data Center Jeffrey Bustos shared insights on the leading considerations of programmatic advertising. “Privacy is a big part of the changes,” Bustos said. In addition to privacy concerns, streaming brings a bevy of other challenges, including transparency, ad fraud and accountability.
But those reservations aren’t keeping advertisers out of the game, even in today’s inflationary market. “From a macro perspective, we’re seeing that the shift to automation tends to happen very quickly when the economy is uncertain,” said Ken Shapiro, CRO at Fandom.
As advertisers shift more dollars into the CTV space to match viewership practices, “the future is automation,” said Matt Barnes, VP of Programmatic Sales for Disney Advertising at the Walt Disney Company. “It’s so obvious at this point.” Ultimately, understanding what consumers want to see, and when, is crucial to implementing programmatic solutions.
Why You Need a Streaming Audience Measurement Solution to Support Your Video Advertising Business
Streaming has changed the game for television content and advertising alike. In a digital atmosphere, how can advertisers and platforms prove value to drive growth?
Led by Sequent Partners Co-founder Jim Spaeth, this conversation addressed measurement and data in the streaming ecosystem. “Streaming has been a real challenge to the measurement future,” Spaeth said. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t sell it,” he added.
Still struggling with the gaps in traditional household data, streaming must look to quantify individual viewers. “Suddenly we have a challenge because the measurement system we’ve been living with isn’t up to the task of measuring these highly-fragmented audiences that are served over multiple platforms,” Spaeth said.
Spaeth was joined by Conviva Sales Director Emily Liu, who agreed that “the challenge lies in how fragmented media is.” For analytics provider Conviva, addressing this problem means “measuring continuously and in real time what the quality of the stream is,” she said. “Because our measurement is within minutes, when we find an issue, publishers are able to fix that.”
In addition to tracking video quality and measuring audience engagement, a comprehensive approach to analytics allows platforms and marketers to predict behaviors and leverage insights to inform future campaigns, making it a crucial component of any media plan.
Bringing Advanced Attribution into Linear TV
In this afternoon event sponsored by a4 advertising, three of the company’s vice presidents spoke on the importance of applying innovative measurement solutions to linear TV, which can yield meaningful new insights applicable to cross-platform strategy.“
We can’t be smart planners without measurement. They’re married together,” said a4 Advertising’s VP of Account Strategy Caitlin Monaghan. “It’s not something new. Many of you here already do it. But it certainly is complex when we bring TV and OTT into the mix,” she added.
For the future of measurement, a4 Advertising’s VP of Data & Analytics Daniel Lin is focused on “tying exposure information to actual business outcomes, such as net new visits to your website or net new sales,” he said.
Of course, when companies are reporting the success of their own solutions, it can get hairy. “Some would say we are grading our own homework, hence we are generating our own results,” said a4 Advertising’s VP of Sales Kevin Riley. But his peers were quick to dissolve that concern.“
From an analytics perspective, my philosophy has always been to call a spade a spade,” Lin said. “My job is to be objective, to paint a strategic picture.”
And, of course, working with other companies’ data helps ensure transparency and accuracy in findings. “We sit on the backbone of both the data we get from being a cable company and data we get from our partners,” Monaghan said.
As content increasingly moves to streaming, there are valuable lessons still to be learned from what does and doesn’t work in linear. Extracting rich data sets from the “old” world can pave the way for the new realm, allowing platforms and advertisers to build on their successes in linear and carry that momentum into the digital landscape. Despite what some people say about cutting the cord, fine-tuning linear ad strategy remains relevant as part of the multi-platform equation.
Audience is part and parcel with the question of advertising. But with new analytics solutions popping up seemingly every day, how can brands identify and connect with diverse audiences using holistic factors that will yield results?
Moderated by the Association of National Advertisers CRO Latha Sarathy, this panel dove into the dynamics shaping identity-based audience targeting in a multi-platform environment. “You’re thinking about the lived experiences of the consumers that you’re trying to reach, and the same thing should be considered when you’re talking about targeting,” Sarathy said.
In this panel, we heard from representatives of identity-driven content programming such as Telemundo, TV One, and AMC WE tv’s ALLBLK, who shared their experiences building diverse communities around content.“
The thing I would like marketers to understand is that there’s no way around connecting with these audiences without making content that is genuinely received by these audiences,” said Audrey Cochran, VP of Research at TV One. “We are creating content that is genuine in nature and that speaks to African Americans in their language,” she added.
For Stephanie Yates, SVP of Research and Insights for WE tv-ALLBLK at AMC Networks, it comes down to expertise. “We really know how to engage this consumer segment and how to super-serve them,” she said. “For WE tv original programs and ALLBK, we target Black consumers with a particular focus on Black women,” she added. “We understand our audience and what makes them tick.”
Calling attention to an important nuance in conversations around diversity, SVP of Research Strategy and Insights at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Federico Garza reminded us that “we also need to remember that audiences are not monolithic.” Looking to linear for clues, he noted the success that cable found with cultural audience segments. “Cable was very good at finding tribes and catering to tribes,” he said. “We need to be better as an industry at recognizing these tribes.”
Overall, the panelists expressed their excitement to collaborate with other content providers to share their expertise on targeting specific diverse audiences. “You need to partner with us to understand the diverse states and emotional levers that drive people toward content,” Yates said.
The New Possibilities of CTV and the Evolution from Brand to Performance Channel
CTV continues to grow into one of digital advertising’s biggest channels, and the importance of digital measurement grows right along with it. To unpack more, we heard from Gijsbert Pols, PhD, Director of Connected TV & New Channels at Adjust, on the potential of CTV analytics and insights to drive brand growth.“
When we measure Connected TV, we do so in the context of all of our clients’ other advertising,” Pols said. “The key to understanding it is understanding the assisting data,” he said. As an example of assisting data, Pols looked at the amount of time that passed between a viewer’s impression and the viewer then downloading an app inspired by that impression. “It’s an interactive space,” he said of the variables that go into CTV.
As advertising evolves in the digital landscape, branding’s potential increases in scope to encompass full marketing experiences, reaching viewers across platforms on various devices and even in gaming, which Pols is particularly excited about. “Now’s the time for experimentation,” he said.
He noted that network and measurement partners are crucial for gathering the data that marketers need to make smart decisions in the CTV space, especially for connecting those insights with marketing on other channels like mobile.
Pols was joined by his Adjust peer Emily Cash, Global Director of Product Marketing. Pols is always “advocating for us to work together on measurement solutions,” she said.
All About the Ad Tech
The day’s final program rounded out the conference with an exploration of the technical innovations powering new measurement solutions in media. Moderated by Mike Shields, CEO, Shields Strategic Consulting, the panel addressed programmatic strategies, data privacy, measurement, and attribution in the digital media landscape, among other things. “We’re talking about how we want to bring automation into this space,” Shields said.
Beyond automation, today’s cross-platform challenges require advanced software and analytics to reap data’s full meaning and reach desired audiences. “We need to know what outcomes are happening from a granular cut,” said Matt Foretich, VP of Data & Media Science at Known. Advertisers “don’t want to just know that you can track someone from impression to conversion. They want to know if it’s incremental,” Foretich added.
For advertisers and publishers, it’s about the data before, during, and after campaign activations. “One of the most meaningful things is not just to be able to get a data dump at the end of a campaign but to be able to apply analytics to it to provide intelligence to our customers,” said Joni Kinsley, VP of Product Strategy at Gamut Total. “From that, we can also give them direction for where their dollars might be better placed going forward,” she added.
But even as the CTV space continues to grow, the “walled garden” effect threatens to slow the collective growth of the industry. “Everyone is kind of hoarding their data, and it limits the scalability that you’re offering to your publishers and advertisers,” Kinsley said.
The panelists agreed that the future of CTV advertising is in shared data sources and personalized ad content, and the market is only going to grow. Even in the face of feared cross-platform scatter, the growth potential of digital advertising is too significant for brands and publishers to stick to last year’s way of doing things. “It has taken until now for many advertisers to understand the need to jump into CTV,” said Justin Fromm, Director of Insights at Samsung Ads.
The panel’s optimism mirrored that of the overall event. As Fromm put it, “We’ve come a long way. It wasn’t too long ago that we didn’t think any of this stuff was possible.”