Media Measurement Industry Insights Future of TV

A new way of reaching audiences needs a new way to measure ad effectiveness

By Samantha Lister, Senior director, data solutions



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August 4, 2022 | 6 min read

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We’ve entered a new era in television advertising; high-quality entertainment across every genre is more available now than ever before and is being consumed across more platforms every day.

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A mixture of linear and non-linear TV advertising is crucial to the success of advertising campaigns

Gone are the days when traditional broadcast linear was the only game in town, and advertisers know they need to invest in both linear and addressable formats to optimize their reach. While these changes increase opportunities to engage consumers, they also present the challenge of devising new ways to accurately measure and ensure the reach and effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Advertisers always want to answer the question: is my media strategy successful? This is synonymous with asking:

  • Who saw and paid attention to my ad?

  • How many times were they exposed?

  • Did we achieve optimal reach?

  • What performance metrics are important to show campaign effectiveness?

Using the UK’s Barb measurement framework, most of these questions used to be simple to answer for TV. Reach is a key indicator of success in the premium TV environment, and for decades advertisers have relied on Barb measurement as the ‘gold standard’ of determining a TV ad’s reach. These metrics are well understood, accepted and traded on by all.

In much the same way that advertisers are being stretched and called to meet new challenges, industry measurement capabilities are also facing the challenges of rapidly-changing viewer habits, available platforms and even additional streams of entertainment such as esports and gaming. TV ad buyers still need to determine reach and frequency across linear broadcasters, but now they also need accurate data to inform their budget allocations across an ever-expanding array of services – including, but not limited to, ad-funded video-on-demand (AVOD) and increasingly as we move into the future ad-supported tiers within subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services.

The need to develop and deploy strategies that collect data for both linear and non-linear viewing, as well as developing means to specifically measure the incremental efficiencies of non-linear campaigns, is vital to advertisers as they make decisions about how to best reach the audience groups that are increasingly difficult to engage via linear television alone.

Harder-to-reach audiences

With every new platform that provides on-demand entertainment, linear TV faces increased competition for viewers. This pressure doesn’t just come from the video-on-demand services but esports and gaming content mentioned previously as well. This increased competition presents an opportunity for advertisers to diversify the way they reach their preferred audiences, particularly among younger demographics that are more difficult to reach through traditional, linear TV advertising alone.

To reach these audiences, advertisers will have to transition from a linear-only model to a ‘Total TV’ approach to encourage the greatest reach and effectiveness. A ‘Total TV’ approach boosts the reach of linear advertising by adding addressable TV to an advertiser’s repertoire. Addressable TV allows advertisers to select and target ads to specific audiences through consumers’ set-top boxes, smart TVs and other connected devices. This, of course, opens up the opportunity to extend a campaign’s reach into ad placements within paid and SVOD streaming environments. In the future, this approach will likely grow and allow advertisers to target streaming services such as YouTube and Twitch, which are increasingly being viewed on a TV screen.

Succeeding in the new world

The pressing question for advertising success is no longer whether to include non-linear formats in an advertising campaign, but rather: what is the right mix of linear and non-linear options that will maximize our advertising effectiveness across an increasingly diverse audience? A recent study, ‘A Guide to TV,’ conducted by GroupM and Finecast, demonstrated that the addition of non-linear formats to linear TV campaigns delivered incremental reach at all levels of investment and across all audiences. This shows that including non-linear advertising has become the ‘new norm’ for advertisers that want to optimize their reach to audiences who are more difficult to target through traditional linear campaigns.

Knowing that a mixture of linear and non-linear TV advertising is crucial to the success of advertising campaigns, both broadcasters and advertisers recognize the importance of establishing an industry-approved and standardized means to measure reach over both mediums, and efforts are being made to do exactly that. An example of this is CFlight, an alliance of UK broadcasters including Sky, Channel 4 and ITV, which provides a holistic view of broadcast video on demand (BVOD) and linear data. Isba’s Project Origin is another example.

For the industry to move forward, we will need to collaborate and align our objectives. Only then will we be positioned to provide the solutions brands need to understand campaign performance and plan their media strategies in the most effective ways. While the efforts described above are a good start, more needs to be done to ensure that advertisers have access to accurate, reliable measures that capture their campaigns’ reach and frequency. At Finecast we are striving to answer some of the key questions our agency partners and clients are asking. Finecast Total TV Measurement provides a measure of reach, frequency and incremental reach across the entire addressable TV and linear TV ecosystem.

Through the interrogation of combined campaign data, the industry has a unique opportunity to develop and deliver a planning solution that will play a crucial role in future investment decisions, and Finecast stands to play a distinct role in helping to shape how that data is collected, analyzed and used for the good of both advertisers and broadcasters.

Media Measurement Industry Insights Future of TV

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Finecast is a leading addressable TV company which enables advertisers to precision target audiences in on demand, linear and live streaming TV environments.

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