Emily Tan
Jul 25, 2013

Bridging the gap between online video ad spend and TV

After years of discussion, the industry finally seems to be drawing near to determining a metric that benchmarks online video advertising against TV ad buys.

Bridging the gap between online video ad spend and TV

For many, the solution appears to be extending GRPs (gross rating points), long the industry standard for determining TV ad spend, to online video. Nielsen, ComScore and Google have launched their TV-like online metrics in the US over the past few years: Nielsen with OCR (online campaign ratings) in 2011, ComScore with Campaign Essentials, and Google with Active GRP

“We’re living a ‘video life’ with consumers watching more online videos than ever,” commented Prashant Kumar, Mediabrands president of Asia World Markets and CEO of Malaysia. “If you’re going to run the same commercial across TV and online, money needs to move from TV to online video, and hence the need to benchmark TV GRPs and their impact with online GRPs and their impact.”

Peter Burton, head of operations at OMG’s trading desk Accuen Asia-Pacific, terms the introduction of digital GRPs (in general) as a breakthrough. “By using the methodology pioneered by Nielsen back in the 1950s…digital GRPs allows traditional broadcast metrics based around audience reach and frequency to be used for the purchase of digital video, and for both to co-exist,” he said.

So far, however, no single company’s offering seems to be gaining ground ahead of the others as the accepted industry standard. Moreover, these devices are only just making their debuts in Asia, where media buyers in some markets have recently merged their online and offline video teams.

Partnering with Nielsen, TubeMogul launched its attempt a few weeks ago across 12 markets in Asia-Pacific. BrandPoint is an online interactive tool that enables media planners to forecast, plan and optimise online video buy (only via TubeMogul) based on a formula which the video DSP believes matches TV GRPs.

According to Phu Truong, director at TubeMogul Asia-Pacific, the platform’s metric works because it uses the brand’s total target population both online and offline. “By using the total target population, not just online, we’re providing transparency and accuracy," Phu said. "There will be some cases where the target audience is not that present online, that it will cost less to buy TV, and this metric will show it when it’s the case.”

TubeMogul's formula

TubeMogul is also guaranteeing the accuracy of its offering by backing all buys with a cost-per-point guarantee. “If a campaign doesn’t make its cost-per-point target to within 20 per cent, we will make up the difference,” said Phu. “We’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

While perhaps not the first such attempt in Asia, Phu believes that BrandPoint is the first live buying platform with this degree of simplicity and accuracy.

Seeing a similar need, Mediabrands too has invested in its own online and offline metric, the Video Rating Point, which it is rolling out across its planning process. Also crafted in collaboration with Nielsen, VRPs form a complimentary, non-conflicting, measurement alongside digital GRPs, Kumar said.

“TubeMogul’s offering is a good attempt at something all of us are trying to create, and I like the simplicity of the platform," he said. "There is a huge knowledge gap here and those who are with the times are approaching it from different routes.”

The main difference between VRPs and digital GRPs, Kumar explained, is that GRPs are inventory-centric rather than audience-centric, and benchmark online buys against TV based on reach and cost. VRPs, however, are an attempt to measure the impact advertising has across the various platforms. “Does an ad served via mobile have the same impact as an ad served via TV?" he asked. "While both metrics are an attempt to bridge online and offline, neither measure quite the same thing.”

Should broadcasters be worried? Not if they’re up to speed, Kumar said. “Those who are savvy are initially cautious but are embracing it in the medium turn. They realise that the TV screen itself is turning digital, and that this is the future. TV will always have a role.”

So far, both Mediabrands and TubeMogul report positive reception for their efforts from both clients and planners. “It’s being hailed as a missing link,” commented Kumar.

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