CANNES – Delve into the challenge of cross-platform video audience measurement with three buy-side veterans and you’ll get sports metaphors, frustration and eager anticipation for things like Facebook’s plunge into scripted programming.
So it was when Comcast presented a panel at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity featuring Amplifi US’s Lucas Cridland, Magna’s David Cohen and David Penksi of Publicis Media Exchange. Moderated by Matt Spiegel of MediaLink, the discussion tended to underscore the reality that while agencies would like to move faster on their clients’ behalf, many aspects of measurement just take time to coalesce.
First the metaphors from Cridland, who is President of Amplifi US, with regard to measurement challenges. “A game of football or soccer isn’t as interesting without a referee,” said Cridland. “And for the moment we have different tools and different rules and different referees trying to adjudicate what is essentially the same game.” And there’s nothing wrong with different tools, Cridland added, noting that golfers use different clubs on different holes.
Cohen, who is President of Magna North America, said that agencies are always juggling “tradeoffs” from one platform to another and trying to understand the implications for clients.
“For lack of a better one, Nielsen DAR is a kind of equalizer for today,” he said. “We see today 30% of video consumption is not linear, going up to 40% by 2021. So this is a thing that is not going away, is growing.”
Penski, who is CEO of Publicis Media Exchange Americas, opined that his industry has a tendency to swing pendulums from one direction to another quite quickly. It’s not always a good thing, particularly regarding audience targeting—say, “Mothers who are exactly 33 years old, live in these two states with this many children. “We have a tendency to move far one way. There’s a line we need to draw. It goes back to scale. Sometimes what we’re doing now is going the other way.”
Asked by Spiegel why agencies seem to be wrestling with producing a great number of creative iterations, Penski gave them credit for what they have been able to achieve.
“Not that long ago, a marketer might do 6 to 20 ad spots and now it’s 600. The problem is we want 6,000. It’s improving and I think it’s moving almost as fast as the media side. I’ve definitely seen huge progress within the last two years,” said Penski.
When the discussion turned to walled gardens and the resources required to figure out and transact with them, Cridland said it just takes time. “Not all of our clients are saying you can have more resource to investigate this and fund it,” Cridland said. “Everybody believes that digital addressability is going to take labor and people out of the equation. At this moment in time, we’re nowhere near that because it’s increasingly complex.”
Asked whether Magna will embrace Facebook’s going Hollywood, Cohen said “Definitely” because it provides more opportunities to reach audiences at scale.