Web GRPs Are A Band-Aid Solution For Cross-Platform Ads

In the wake of Nielsen’s and Facebook’s announcement of a new “Web GRP” metric, there has been some exciting debate over whether GRPs will be good for the advertising industry as a whole. Dave Morgan made some excellent points in Mediapost about why GRPs will ultimately be good for online advertisers. However, I respectfully disagree that web GRPs are a step forward for effective cross-platform measurement. 

Although it is true that TV gets the lion’s share of marketers’ budgets, that doesn’t necessarily mean that online measurement should be retrofitted to make “apples to apples” comparisons. On the contrary, marketers are becoming more accustomed to the granular level of metrics and accountability online media offers and will not be content to keep TV GRPs and get a “best fit” measurement of GRPs online. Even if the industry isn’t giving up on GRPs as TV currency, TV networks like CBS are moving away from GRPs as the standard and would like to get beyond age and sex if possible. As the online video market matures and over-the-top video consumption grows, I believe marketers will begin to see the discrepancy in accuracy between the ads they buy on a prime-time show on broadcast and the ads they buy that are delivered via a YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu app on a connected TV. 

Web+TV GRPs are a short-term benefit for old-school marketers since they allow them to reach audiences across platforms (albeit not as effectively or efficiently as a non-GRP-based metric such as uniques — if you are a Forrester client, see our early call on this in our report "The Future of Media Measurement"). These new GRPs are also great for Nielsen (which is driving the initiative), since it has lost major ground in online media measurement and would like the online ad industry to play its version of the game. The same goes for Facebook, which is trying to monetize its audiences better and is looking for a foothold with bigger audiences and TV-sized budgets. 

Are you an online or TV marketer who is thinking about trying out Nielsen’s new metrics? How is your organization looking at these metrics for cross-platform advertising? Let us know your thoughts below or in the The Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals.