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21 November 2019

YouTube seeks Nielsen assistance to masquerade as “real” TV

Addressable advertising is working wonders for pay TV campaigns, as demonstrated by a new report from Faultline’s research arm, Rethink TV, which has forecast addressable ad revenues to grow six-fold to $85.5 billion by 2025. But even with addressable deployments now ramping up, pay TV players aren’t over the line yet, as OTT video looks to an old friend of pay TV to steal additional ad dollars.

That friend is troubled audience measurement mammoth Nielsen, which has this week been selected by YouTube to integrate TV data into Reach Planner, Google’s audience planning tool, implying it can dig deep enough to identify cord nevers, cord cutters, cord shavers and – most worryingly for pay TV – even prospective cord cutters.

The injection of Nielsen TV data into Reach Planner allows advertisers to compare campaign reach between YouTube and traditional TV side-by-side and plan an effective strategy against Nielsen’s TV demographics.

“With Nielsen TV data directly available in Reach Planner, brands can compare how different distributions of spend on TV and YouTube influence the overall reach and frequency of a particular campaign,” according to YouTube’s US director of video, Kristin MacGregor.

Through Reach Planner, which Google only launched in April 2018, advertisers can create a concoction of TV and online video campaigns to be optimized at will to maximize reach and balance frequency, as well as reducing waste.

Throwing Nielsen Total Ad Ratings (TAR) into the mix with Reach Planner means comparisons can be drawn between TV and YouTube from the planning stages right through to post-campaign reporting. Nielsen’s TAR was launched to provide a holistic view of media consumption across platforms and devices – and its use by the bigger half of the online ad duopoly is YouTube’s way of behaving more like traditional TV.

That sentiment was echoed by Head of Integrated Media and Communications at The Hershey Company, Charlie Chappell, saying, “We’ve viewed YouTube as a TV-like environment for some time. Because YouTube has a different set of content than what’s available in traditional TV, it attracts a different audience for a different occasion, and so it’s good for us to be a part of our total mix because those are the people that, a lot of times, we couldn’t reach otherwise.”

Nielsen’s natural appeal is helping put a finger on the shift of eyeballs from traditional TV to online video, with in-house data showing a 31% reduction in Gross Rating Points (GRPs) for 18 to 49 year-olds across broadcast and cable TV from 2013 to 2018. The impact on marketers, Nielsen claims, means they require a daunting 46% increase in frequency to achieve the same GRP levels. A GRP is the measure of a size of an ad campaign, usually as a percentage of the target population, as opposed to the size of an audience reached.

Right now, the use of Nielsen TV Data in Reach Planner is an exclusive feature for Reach Planner customers in the US, expanding to more countries in 2020. Anyone who hasn’t already thought about implementing an addressable ad strategy should seriously think about doing so, as the world’s largest online video platform – generating a billion views daily – has just become an even greater threat to TV ad dollars.

Elsewhere in ad tech this week, Comcast’s newly rebranded Effectv cable advertising arm (formerly Comcast Spotlight), introduced a new feature called Mnemonic to – as the name suggests – aid advertisers in telling memorable stories.

This is more of a creative tool than the intelligent Sky AdSmart technology on which Effectv is based, designed to develop linear TV and digital video ad campaigns for Effectv customers – with a key feature being its multi-channel approach to expand the message.

One Effectv customer, Hoffman Auto Group, has already reaped the rewards from the new product. “Mnemonic eliminated my concerns about returning to television. After starting our new TV ad campaign, we have been able to increase total website traffic to its highest levels since we’ve been tracking t hat metric back to 2011,” said Chris Delpha, Director of Marketing and Creative Services.