Common currency and measurement has proven key to buying and selling cross-screen advertising campaigns. This fundamental shift will afford advertisers the ability to focus more on finding the right audience and less on deciphering how to slice and dice their ad spend across platforms. Essential to deploying a common currency is the ability to unify data sources to produce a comprehensive view of not only inventory available and sold, but of audience measurement.
Last week NBCU announced CFlight, a new metric that unifies linear TV and digital viewing of ad campaigns. The metric, a compilation of multiple measurement sources, such as Nielsen, ComScore, Moat, etc. will serve as baseline for buying and measuring integrated advertising campaigns moving forward. NBCU’s hope is that other media companies will embrace CFlight as well, establishing it as an industry-wide standard. The measurement sources supporting CFlight are non-proprietary and available to all.
I applaud this effort and feel confident that adopting a universal metric is a natural next step for the media industry and something that advertisers have sought for a long time. I do think other media outlets may be suspect of a Comcast/NBCU led standard, however, if CFlight proves viable and other outlets move toward adoption, then we as an industry will be able to significantly move the needle on advancing media ad sales for the future. Fragmented data sources have muddied the waters of the advertising workflow for some time creating silos, manual workflows, and data discrepancies. Thus, aggregating and normalizing data has become essential for smart media companies looking to leverage data as a sales strategy. With unified cross-screen currency and measurement tied into a hub-driven workflow where data aggregation and normalization are automated, media sellers will be equipped to sell far more consultatively and effectively.
While linear TV ad revenues have maintained relatively flat, digital advertising has seen double digit growth as a result of consumers shifting their views across platforms (download 2017 ad spend report). This shift has continued to put pressure on the industry to establish a common currency, i.e. allowing media companies to capitalize on the linear TV revenues while supplementing them with digital, when linear falls short. At a time when the effectiveness of digital impressions is questionable, NBCU has stated that CFlight will be a duration- based metric requiring 100% ad completion. For advertisers they are getting a more direct approach to finding and buying their targeted audience and the reassurance of delivery in their metrics.
Moving to a common currency and metric gives media companies a better picture into the “true” value of their inventory enabling them to maximize revenues. It also streamlines some of the necessary sales and order management transactions making it easier to sell digital. Furthermore, we know TV/video works. Advertisement is not just about ad and the audience watching, it’s about the impact of the content around which that ad is wrapped. But TV measurement is dated and providing a more effective currency upon which to trade, should stabilize and potentially grow, at least to some degree, linear TV ad buying.
In a world where fake news spreads like a wild fire, data is essential to providing audience measurement validation. The data however must be consistent and unified from disparate systems to be effective, simplifying sales operations and adding value to the enterprise workflow. Multiple systems comprise an advertising workflow and the need to map data from those systems to internal sources is necessary to provide real-time inventory views, process orders, generate campaign metrics, and more.
Unifying disparate data sources by both aggregating and normalizing data is something our team at Matrix Solutions has tremendous experience with. Our Monarch media ad sales platform serves as a centralized hub to the advertising workflow bringing together multiple sources of data through robust APIs and defined integrations and presenting users with the ability to view and manage their data in one system.
As we look to future, we are excited to see strides being made toward a common currency and metric and know that our platform’s data interoperability capabilities can help media companies to bridge the gap when it comes to universal media ad sales across multiple screens.