The growing variety of video channels give viewers more choices than ever before, while challenging mass marketers to devise ways to reach large-scale groups of consumers. Ad-based video-on-demand (AVOD) services provide a way to reach younger audiences that are more elusive to traditional linear TV.

“There’s a lot of value that advertisers have in combining some of their linear TV buys with these AVOD buys,” Marco Parente, senior vice president of product management at market research giant Kantar, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “The audiences that are using AVOD are new and different audiences, and there’s very little duplication with TV.”

The viewing sessions of AVOD services tend to be longer than for linear TV, with consumers more likely to binge-watch multiple episodes of their favorite shows or to stream movies on-demand. Meanwhile, AVOD services tend to reach younger audiences than traditional linear TV, he said.

In addition to media fragmentation, marketers also face greater challenges in ensuring that their advertising campaigns are having a measurable effect on business outcomes. Measuring that effectiveness is expected to become more difficult as technology companies take steps to limit audience tracking.

“You can’t have a discussion today about anything related to ad-tech or measurement without acknowledging the state, or the future state, of identity in the industry,” Parente said. “It’s a huge challenge because it underpins pretty much all of how the ad-tech ecosystem operates today.”

Google next year plans to end support for third-party cookies, a popular tracking technology, in its popular Chrome browser that serves as a gateway to the internet for hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. Apple already took similar measures with its Safari browser, and soon will ask its customers to give permission to apps that want access to device identifiers used for tracking.

These changes will make cross-screen measurement more difficult, and possibly limit the ability to determine which channels are most effective for advertising.

“Marketers need to understand how the same consumer is being exposed to media across channels and across screens,” Parente said. “With data deprecation, the ability to do this becomes even more challenging because we’re losing more signals in the form of device IDs.”

Different Data Sets

Another key challenge is combining data sets from digital and TV, which may not be comparable because of different methods of gathering and measuring data. Digital measurement can be more granular by tracking consumers on devices like smartphones, tablets and computers, while linear measurement typically is at the household level.

“There will be more dependencies on panels and first-party datasets overall,” Parente said about how marketers will respond to the deprecation of tracking methods.

Another difficulty is tracking audiences among different “walled garden” environments such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Each company has a massive trove of proprietary consumer data, but it’s not clear how much overlap there is among those groups.

“Including measurement of walled gardens in a holistic way will only become more difficult because the marketer will have to be ready to move their first-party data into multiple environments that don’t talk to each other,” Parente said. “There are solutions currently being tested that make this process easier, like cleaning rooms and secure computation approaches, but these solutions will require that the walled gardens participate.”

Moving to Prescriptive Analytics

Kantar sees greater value in data analytics that are more predictive in determining the likely outcome of ad campaigns and other efforts to boost the value of brands.

“We’re challenging our clients to move beyond descriptive analytics, which is still important because it tells a marketer how effective their campaign was, but it’s still backward-looking,” he said. “We’re moving our clients toward prescriptive analytics. It’s more forward-looking because it tells a marketer what to do to maximize their media investments.”

Prescriptive analytics include evaluations of how well ad creative helps performance, rather than focusing only on a media placement, he said.

“Creative is one of the largest pieces to consider,” Parente said. “A bad creative makes media work much harder.”

Measuring incrementality, such as evaluating the percentage of conversions that resulted directly from an ad campaign, is an important piece in the marketing puzzle.

“A large portion of marketer’s baseline sales is being driven by long-term brand equity,” Parente said. “A marketer not only needs to measure this, but they need to nurture and invest in their brand equity.”

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