What's Under Your Advertising Hood?

By Jay Samit, SeaChange International

Ad Metrics: What's Under the Hood? A century ago, Henry Ford measured the performance of his automobile by appropriating the term "horsepower" from 18th century inventors who used it to compare the output of steam engines to the power of draft horses. Barely 50 years later, Nielsen started measuring TV audiences and their response to advertising using a mathematical formula defined as gross ratings points (GRPs).

Today, both are being rendered obsolete by a need for broader and deeper insights.

In the nascent automotive industry, knowing how much power an engine could deliver was once the predominant measurement of a car's efficacy. Likewise, in the early phase of TV broadcasting, with only three national TV networks to consider, knowing what share of the American audience a given advertising spot reached on a given night was sufficient. Within that context, GRPs helped advertisers understand whether they could reach more viewers buying time on the Ed Sullivan Show or The Brady Bunch.

Measuring what's important

Today, despite the increasing sophistication of both cars and media, the investment of billions of dollars in these two industries is still predicated upon arcane constructs that no longer measure what's important.

Evaluating a car solely on the basis of power misses its other salient values (reliability, endurance, air conditioning, comfort, safety, etc.). Similarly, quantifying advertising in GRPs misses the fact that the majority of viewers are not consuming content in a linear universe of pre-programmed options.

Today's media landscape is increasingly dominated by viewing options that GRPs do not adequately take into account. If a broadcaster has a series with a 1 share, for instance, yet has twice as many viewers watching it on demand, on DVR, or on tablets and mobile devices, that count is neither fair nor accurate. Moreover, since non-linear viewers often make an extra effort to engage directly with the programming, their presence should matter as much as or more than those less invested in the experience.

Going beyond reach and frequency

We need a unit of measurement that goes beyond our current capabilities. Reaching a person who is actively looking to purchase a car in the next 30 days is inherently more valuable to an automaker than connecting with a person of the same demographic who just purchased one. Thus, knowing which is which is an advantage. Moreover, media viewing is becoming more user-initiated, so ad measuring tools need ways to determine intent.

In an age when Google or Facebook can empower advertisers to reach exactly the demographic they desire with hyper-targeting, there is no reason to allocate of billions of ad dollars based on Nielsen's survey of a few thousand American homes.

Measurement of consumer impressions is not enough. Reaction to what consumers view must also be tallied and analyzed.

Context and sentiment: social metrics of choice

That's where context and sentiment come in. These are becoming metrics of choice as businesses begin to understand that consumer engagement and sharing are measurements that better define the value of a commercial and drive sales than GRPs.

Like Henry Ford's term, "horsepower," gross rating points are singular in nature: They measure only one thing. In the arena of cars, it's speed. In the world of GRPs, it's exposure. Again, that's not enough. With cars, there's more to measure than speed. By the same token, there's more to media than exposure. To be successful, advertising professionals and the brands they serve must go beyond that to look at the influence exposure has on motivation and behavior.

Monitoring and analysis of direct peer-to-peer social media as well as open communications on blogs, forums, video-sharing sites, and other public forms of social interaction open windows into what consumers are talking about, and more importantly, how they feel about it.

Generating ideas vs. sales

Perhaps the most significant outgrowth of all this is that as content becomes more ubiquitous and more equally distributed across both fixed and mobile devices, the objective shifts from selling something to generating ideas about what the brand means to consumers and the world in which they live.

Cracking the marketing code

The ability to communicate at that level, particularly with Millennials, is rapidly evolving from a nice-to-have to a primary requirement. The Share This blog suggests that "brands can crack the code of marketing to this 'elusive' generation if they know what they like to share on social media."

That said, any new measurement methodology needs to be centered around the ability to aggregate and interpret real-time, experientially based data on consumer sentiment and preferences through the full range of social channels. When that is finally within our grasp, the horsepower under everyone's advertising hood will consist of more than just cubic inches.

Jay Samit is the CEO of SeaChange International. Reach him at jay.samit@schange.com.

Get the Broadband Technology Report Newsletters Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • Video Technology
  • Network Technology
  • Technology Alerts
  • BTR LATAM (Latin America)

SCTE-Cable Tec Expo 2016 Video Show Dailies

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

In our Video Show Daily for Day 3 of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy covers trends in distrib...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

In our Video Show Daily for the second day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy highlights furt...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy reviews the hot technologies and announcements from the first day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016 in P...

Diamond Technology Reviews - 2016 High Scores

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

BTR's Diamond Technology Reviews, now in its twelfth year, is a technology recognition program wherein vendors serving the broadband cable ...

Related Articles

Check out Viavi's Gigabit Broadband Solutions

Check out Viavi's Gigabit Broadband Solutions

October 10, 2016

Starting to roll out gigabit services? Watch this video to find out how ...


ADB Adds 'Casting' to Hotel Video Platform

October 6, 2016

ADB is upgrading its vuTyme managed services hotel video solution to ena...


2016 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Wrap Up

Whether you couldn't make it to Cable-Tec this year or want to see if you missed anything while you were there, you'll want to join BTR editors Stephen Hardy and Ron Hendrickson as they reveal their picks for the...

October 12, 2016
Sponsored by

Counting the cost: Efficiently transitioning from HFC to FTTH

HFC networks are uniquely positioned to provide compelling and competitive services, and are also uniquely positioned to transition to symmetrical FTTH as commercial requirements demand.  This webinar will d...

Date:September 22, 2016
Sponsored by

Maintaining High Quality of Experience in an Adaptive Bitrate System

This webinar will look at the many points in an ABR system where the video is touched.  From ingest (satellite, file, and IP), to egress, each point should be qualified for compliance to help maintain a high...

Date:August 25, 2016
Sponsored by

White Papers & Special Reports

Cable VoIP 2.0: Voice Moves to the Cloud

October 2016

Cable providers led the charge on the VoIP evolution and won customers and market share. Now voice networks are evolving again. The cloud voice platform has ...

Understanding Ultra High Definition Television

October 2016

Over the last 10 years, high definition television (HDTV) has been replacing standard definition television as the expected viewing format for television pro...

Are You Ready for DOCSIS 3.1? The Future of Cable Technology and How to Prepare Your Network

October 2016

DOCSIS 3.1 promises 10x capacity throughput and a range of technical benefits for cable providers and users alike. Are you ready? Discover the technical adva...

BTR Blogs

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

FCC Rethinks Set-Top Plan

September 10, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - The FCC has reworked the "unlock the set-top b...


In Memoriam: Richard Covell

August 18, 2016

By Rob Stuehrk, Publisher - We at Broadband Technology Report were sadde...

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

Court Overturns FCC Municipal Broadband Order

August 11, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - You win some, and you lose some, and the FCC just l...

Featured Hangouts

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this inf...

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

Watch a 30-minute video chat of experts from a variety of related disciplines discuss how close deployments really ar...

Featured Hangout

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this informative Hangout on demand by clicking the link above.

Sponsored by Verimatrix.