As television networks prepare to showcase their programming during the upfront sales season, more advertisers are ready to test alternative ways to measure the value of their media investments.

“When we hung up the phone yesterday with a bunch of our clients, we had a handful of them say, ‘I’m ready to test,’” Cara Lewis, who in November was promoted to chief investment officer at Dentsu International, said in this Beet.TV interview. “Having those clients raise their hands and want to test just shows that … everybody is ready to see what different measurement is out there.”

Speaking to Kris Magel, head of agency development at advertising and analytics firm Samba TV, Lewis said her company is changing with the demands of the advertising marketplace. Marketers are shifting their media spending to digital channels such as connected TV, whose audience is growing.

“Change is here, and change is going to continue to happen as more tech comes,” Lewis said. “We will just accelerate in terms of getting there and what our priorities are around the digital world.”

Programmatic Preparations

Part of that digital transformation includes teaching more employees about the programmatic marketplace, where media buyers and sellers converge in automated online auctions. Programmatic media buying is well established in the digital display ad market, and is making inroads into television.

“We’re training every employee to operate in a programmatic way, meaning that there’s cross-training happening,” Lewis said. “We have to have hybrid individuals that know how to do direct buys and programmatic buys.”

Dentsu also is working with a variety of companies that provide specialized services, including different kinds of audience measurement. With the growth of addressable advertising, which shows different ads to different households during the same programming, measurement requirements are changing.

“We’ve been talking to all the measurement companies about what sort of data that they use,” Lewis said. “We can’t just use one dataset right now. There is not one data set that has everything we need in the addressability landscape. We need to have the pipes built to be able to do cross-platform, to be able to look at things cross-channel.”

Audience Attention

Advertisers also want to measure levels of audience attention, especially as the media marketplace grows more fragmented. Many consumers these days watch television while also texting on a smartphone or checking social media.

“We are transacting in linear against attention, and obviously in digital, and we’re talking to a couple of vendors in out-of-home. We are definitely discussing it across local as well,” Lewis said. “Attention for us is at the forefront, and we’ll continue to push that.”

Dentsu is urging its clients to participate in tests of different ad measurement systems as the media and marketing industries adopt new ways of determining the value of advertising.

“We want multiple clients to be testing various different ways with various different measurement partners,” Lewis said. “The industry needs to be working with all of the different potential providers over the next year, maybe a year and a half, two years. Because the experience of working together is what’s obviously going to start to identify what needs to get worked on.”

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