Alison Weissbrot
Jun 7, 2022

GroupM sets parameters for new measurement partners in the US

The media buying giant aims to bring the buy side’s voice to the TV measurement conversation with a new set of standards for partners.

GroupM sets parameters for new measurement partners in the US

The conversation regarding the evolution of TV measurement in the U.S. has largely been led by major TV networks and ad tech companies.

But on Monday media buying behemoth GroupM clarified its positioning, parameters and status around the search for new measurement solutions in an effort to bring the buy side’s perspective to the debate.

GroupM revealed its roadmap for measurement partners as it tests alternative solutions from iSpot, Comscore, Videoamp and Nielsen One Alpha across more than a dozen of its largest clients, including Unilever, Nestlé, Ferrero, Domino’s, TJX Companies and Mars.

“What we’ve seen so far is a lot of initiative from media owners and a lot of headlines from measurement partners,” said Bharad Ramesh, executive director, research and investment analytics, at GroupM. “But we really haven’t seen anything from the buy side.”

The roadmap was also revealed after the upfronts, which lacked significant conversation on measurement, Ramesh added.

“The upfronts felt like business as usual,” he said. “We were disappointed.”

Bharad Ramesh, executive director, research and investment analytics, GroupM

The new measurement roadmap aims to push the conversation from the buy side with seven guidelines partners must meet to be considered as GroupM’s preferred partner.

These include: Incorporating feedback from the buy side and ANA; gaining universal use by all media partners; covering traditional and digital metrics, with the opportunity to add new metrics such as attention; providing fair and accurate audience representation; offering standardization, transparency and plans to undertake an MRC audit; enabling interoperability across GroupM’s tools and systems; and being interested in exploring new commercial models to fund measurement.

Working with the ANA, which is developing its own model for currency, is crucial to ensure GroupM’s goals are aligned with clients, Ramesh said. “We don’t want to move from an incumbent to another standard and have clients say it’s not good.”

New metrics, accurate audience representation, standardization and interoperability across GroupM’s tools and systems are also table stakes.

“If they want to be currency grade, they have to think through how the data flows through everything from planning to billing, and how it is interoperable between video, streaming and TV,” Ramesh said.

Universal availability across media partners, particularly the big five TV networks in the US and digital giants including YouTube, Amazon and Roku, is also important. But getting all media owners to align on a single vendor will be difficult as networks lean into different partners. NBCUniversal, for instance, is working closely with, while ViacomCBS is testing with Videoamp.

While many of the networks talk about a multicurrency future, for advertisers each new partner creates an added cost – a discrepancy that will need to be worked out across the buy and sell side as the industry moves away from Nielsen.

“New measurement providers are a revenue upside for networks because they capture impressions the incumbency doesn’t,” Ramesh explained. “For us, it’s an extra cost, because clients pay more for each system. It adds a lot of friction to the way we do business.”

As for new commercial models, GroupM is encouraging its clients to pay for measurement partners directly in order to have a louder voice and bigger seat at the table. Currently, Nielsen measurement is paid for mostly by the TV broadcast networks.

“That ensures the buy and sell sides have an equal voice when it comes to measurement,” Ramesh said. “Research companies have to listen if you pay them.”

Campaign US

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