Between the tackles and touchdowns of Super Bowl XLVIII, about 35 brands went head to head in a competition for consumer attention by airing highly anticipated commercials at $130,000 per second. Which brands won? It’s hard to tell: Bets were in well before Sunday, play-by-plays have been highlighted, trends analyzed, and commentators are still discussing them.
The truth is that the games have just begun. For consumers, the Super Bowl ad spectacle is part of the “discovery” phase — the first of four stages constituting Forrester’s customer life cycle — as commercials educate markets about a new product or momentarily make an impression on individuals. The resulting waves of social chatter now rippling across the Web amplify each brand’s capacity to be noticed.
The ever-insightful Mike Glantz has picked up on something strange in the water for video (TV and online) advertising these days. After conducting a great panel at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in Los Angeles last week, here's his take:
Online video is certainly rising fast as a medium and an ad vehicle. Just this week, comScore announced that Americans watched more than 8 billion video ad impressions in March alone, setting an all-time record. Audiences in the US are embracing online video across a wide variety of devices and show no signs of slowing down. To capitalize on this explosive growth, many of the big online publishers like AOL, Hulu, and Yahoo are hosting their own "New Fronts," with the hope of emulating TV and attracting bigger advertisers with deeper pockets and larger commitments to purchase the more valuable online ad space in advance.
Yesterday, Researcher Mike Glantz on my team attended the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) conference in New York City. Practically from the conference floor, here is what he had to say:
"The conference was a packed house of technology vendors, data providers, advertising agencies, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and TV networks all discussing their collective vision for the future for TV as we know it. I wasn’t able to catch all the panels, but some key themes I noted from the ones I was able to attend:
Multitasking has changed how TV is measured. Measurement companies like Nielsen, Comscore, and Rentrak are fully aware of how consumers are multitasking with laptops, smartphones, and tablets and the additive effects multitasking has on TV watching. All three are taking steps to build single-source measurement panels that can accurately track cross-platform media exposure. On the startup side, companies like Bluefin Labs and Trendrr showed some of the ways they are tapping into social media data to uncover cross-platform engagement for TV shows.
Technology companies and TV programmers are ready to engage their audiences on second screens. I was continually impressed by announcements and demos from Shazam, Ensequence, Zeitera, and TVplus that showed how mobile applications (and soon TV themselves) can seamlessly sync to TV shows and instantaneously provide additional show content and co-branded ads.
This past week, Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer at GroupM, openly decried Nielsen’s national, sample-based TV measurement. Although Scanzoni has an inherent bias (GroupM’s parent WPP owns Nielsen competitor, Kantar, which has a set-top-box data-based TV measurement system of its own called RaPiDview), his words still speak volumes about the state of TV audience measurement and the need for a new system.
In our report earlier this year, "TV’s Currency Conversion" (client access required), we predicted that set-top-box data would start to gain traction in local markets where Nielsen’s samples were especially small and statistically unstable. Since then, data providers like Rentrak and Kantar have been gaining traction in these local markets, offering marketers granular user-level data from local cable companies’ set-top boxes. Nielsen, too, is aggregating set-top-box data as part of a push for a hybrid methodology, but these efforts are confined to its small local market; its legacy national measurement methodology continues to be based on a relatively small sample of households.
However, Nielsen has more problems on its hands than local TV measurement. Consumers are constantly multitasking with other devices while they watch TV. With attention spans no longer guaranteed during commercial breaks, marketers need new ways to measure their ads not just on TV but also across smartphones, tablets, and laptops as well. As media fragmentation continues to grow, marketers will need behavioral cross-platform metrics that measure their audiences across multiple media touchpoints.