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Omnicom: OTT Measurement 'A Band-Aid When You Need a Tourniquet'

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Measurement is a huge problem for over-the-top (OTT) video advertising, and the patchwork solutions available aren't solving the crisis.

These are "like doing a Band-Aid when you need a tourniquet," asserted Catherine Sullivan, chief investment officer for Omnicom Media Group NA, speaking on an Advertising Week panel.

Advertisers rely on Nielsen for viewing data, but Nielsen has done "a crummy job" of advancing its data for the online era, Sullivan pronounced, adding that no one is satisfied with the way media is currently being measured.

Advertising on OTT platforms is useful for reaching viewers who no longer tune into traditional linear TV, but advertisers need tools that can identify individual viewers so they're not over-serving some of the population.

“If you consistently hit the same audience, then the duplication just continues," Sullivan said.

Current piecemeal solutions are cumbersome for advertising clients. What's needed is a better understanding of the audience. Sullivan said her clients aren't satisfied with "the rounding error of what Nielsen is right now."

Advertisers get bulk viewing data from Nielsen, but aren't able to dive down to the individual.

The OTT world has become one of walled gardens with protected data, and where it once counted three gardens it now has six or seven, she said. Third-party data companies provide greatly different results. The result is "just a lot of noise."

“If we don’t collectively get our acts together, someone else will," Sullivan said. That means getting the buy- and sell-sides together to agree on the best data to provide. Getting siloed groups to talk to each other is still a challenge. To move forward, the industry needs to leave legacy systems behind and get all parties trained on a new and smarter system with the goal of driving sales.

Addressable advertising, which targets individual households or viewers, is necessary, but needs to be used thoughtfully, with care given to make ads contextually relevant. Advertisers need to consider placement and timing, and be aware that if they make their addressable target too small they won't get the reach they need. For addressable to be effective, it needs to provide the right message to the right person at the right time.

The industry faces a challenge in measuring different data sets and managing an audience," agreed Ari Rosenfeld, investment lead at media agency Wavemaker, speaking on the same panel. Vendors are cross-selling streaming platforms, he said, noting that there are many ways to buy Hulu, and that makes managing unduplicated reach and frequency a difficulty.

Photo: Ari Rosenfeld of Wavemaker and Catherine Sullivan of Omnicom Media Group at Advertising Week 2019

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