This week, I was honored to speak at the ARF’s Audience Measurement Conference in Jersey City, an annual event that brings together a wide range of industry veterans and startups alike to discuss what the future of audience measurement looks like.
Why and how the standard for audience measurement need to change
Increasingly, the industry is realizing that well-established audience research methodologies, panels, and TV and site measurement practices are colliding with a new world led not only by Facebook and Google, but by various small and medium-sized companies. These companies are emerging on both the client and vendor side, and are creating and establishing new frameworks to prove ROI towards advertisers and address other knowledge and insight gaps.
Companies like Unacast discussed the value and role of location data; it’s great to have folks like them bringing new topics to the table, even though it does not always benefit the well-established measurement industry, which is still reliant on MRC and various audits. And while there are simply no good standards or widely scalable methods for ad targeting or measurement available for things like location data, that does not mean we shouldn’t discuss them as an industry and their broader implications for measurement vendors, data management companies, publishers, and brands.
Audience Profiles: A Solution for What Concerns Publishers Today
On Tuesday, I spoke about the obstacles that publishers face today, and announced Verto’s newest product: Audience Profiles. My presentation considered some of the challenges inherent in the established frameworks used to measure audience behavior today. We highlighted some of the key challenges that we’ve heard from our customers:
- Fusion and modeling do not help when there is a need to deep-dive into specific audience segments or build stories that follow a day in life of audiences with media content.
- Today, all platforms and devices count – single-screen measurement solutions are becoming less relevant for the type of insights that clients need. As a result, publishers struggle to measure true net reach and audience engagement across all device types and services.
- Publishers miss the opportunity to “claim” and build stories around cross-device audiences.
- Previous audience measurement methods measure devices or properties—not people.
- Increasingly, it’s the context of media exposure, user attention and behavior that matters: factors such as screen orientation, pre- vs. post-behaviors, location, or user multi-tasking behaviors.
Audience Profiles: the Storytelling Approach to Audience Measurement
At Verto, we feel that the industry is quickly losing interest in key audience ratings data and metrics – it is not just about the numbers and whether they are accurate. Instead, the industry seems more excited about finding unique new metrics to characterize their audience in new ways. For example, can we introduce standardized metrics to quantify the retention and churn dynamics of an audience? Or can we measure the share of one’s audience that tunes into your service every single day of the month, or is solely exclusive to your brand? At the same time, simultaneous usage and cross-device audience metrics are becoming increasingly relevant. And we shouldn’t forget the importance of creating compelling visuals to characterize and highlight these findings.
I discussed this “storytelling” approach to audience measurement during our presentation and this is exactly I am so proud to launch Verto Audience Profiles. Verto developed Audience Profiles to tackle some of the challenges inherent in survey based research, custom solutions, analytics platforms, and fusion-based audience measurement products. Audience Profiles is based on a consumer-centric audience measurement paradigm that we invented several years ago – and our single-source panels and methodology were developed alongside that paradigm.
For example, our day in life profiles showcase a given audience segment and its behavior across the hours of the day, across all of his/her devices, and highlight a given brand or publisher’s role and reach amidst daily activity. This visualization has proven to be successful among our clients because it’s not merely a descriptive report around brand and content exposure; instead, it pinpoints the context of usage: what do people do when they wake up, or what content or brands are they interacting with in their living rooms during prime time? We’ve seen how day in the life data can trigger interest and excitement among our clients as they discover new insights from the role of locations, sequential dynamics, multi-tasking, and path-to-purchase datapoints.
Audience Profiles also includes additional components that not only provide data, but visual reports that build stories out of a given audience. This is an invaluable tool for any publisher who monetizes through advertising, works with investors or the public markets, requires help when pitching their audience’s positioning to potential partners, or anybody who is able to benefit from unique stories of his or her audience to be conveyed for external stakeholders.
Simply put, basic audience ratings and old-school research methodologies are obsolete. Today’s media players and publishers are interested in creating and communicating stories about their audiences to their external stakeholders, and I’m excited to introduce Verto Audience Profiles as the first to tackle this demand with a single-source audience measurement solution.