At our Marketing Leadership Forum in April, Forrester Researcher Mike Glantz will be talking up TV in its future state with a panel made up of Comcast, ABC, and others. Here is a post written by Mike about his upcoming panel and a report he is working on. Enjoy!
Marketers have struggled with accurately measuring their reach across TV and digital media platforms. Today’s TV watchers multitask with digital devices, fluidly moving between platforms and expecting a seamless experience. In this complex world, marketers need standardized data sets to measure:
Cross-platform reach. In an increasingly fragmented ecosystem, marketers need to know their total reach across TV and digital video platforms.
Social engagement with their TV brand. The connection between social media and TV can no longer be denied after this year’s Super Bowl. With viewers embracing social media to chat about what they are watching in real time, brand marketers need to be able to measure their brands’ reach across the social graph.
1. What was your approach and justification for investing in new marketing tactics that are still in their development phase?
I’m pretty consistent in pushing my teams to explore new avenues that may yield better results for us. I want us to make informed decisions but take risks, whatever the application might be. We’re a company borne of the Internet, so I think we are a little more forward-leaning than some of our competitors in some ways. We push pretty aggressively — how can we improve, gain more mindshare, and sell more policies — things like paid search, cost per clicks are all very much a part of the online environment we grew up in, as is social media, so it made sense for us to explore making a tighter connection between our offline advertising and our social media presence online. The average Facebook user spends about 6 hours a month on the platform, so we certainly see the value of having a conversation with some of the 200 million Facebook users in the US.
Last week’s big TV news was that Canoe Ventures, the company jointly founded by the major cable MSOs (Comcast, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, Time Warner, and Bright House), has decided to abandon its interactive TV (iTV) business and focus its efforts on enabling targeted advertising in video-on-demand (VoD) programming. (See Advertising Age story here.) Departing CEO Kathy Timko was cited as saying that the shuttering of the business was “the result of what the marketplace told us,” but marketers have long demanded that their TV ads be more interactive and engaging. What happened?
I would argue that marketer demand for Canoe’s request-for-information (RFI) interactive ads, though never incredibly high, was the victim of not only the difficulties of getting large cable companies to work on a joint end product but also the shift in consumer behavior to media multitasking and an explosion of second-screen experiences. Since 2008, there have been a number of trends that would suggest multitasking would negatively affect Canoe’s RFI ads:
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.
One of our ace researchers on the CMO and marketing leadership team, Mike Glantz, pulled together this blog post to follow up on a report we collaborated on a few months back, "TV's Currency Conversion" (client access required), which discussed the merging of Nielsen data and set-top box and other census-level data. Although television is the overall dominant advertising medium in US, marketers are seeing audience fragmentation across the spectrum of broadcast and cable networks. In the digital world, online video viewership continues to grow and enables marketers to target niche audiences with relative precision, compared with TV. However, marketers have been hesitant to see online video and TV as two sides of the same coin because there has not been a common measurement to link the two media, and digital video is perceived to lack the massive reach that TV currently enjoys.
Recently my colleague Sharyn Leaver and I had the opportunity to meet with Robert Mead and Michael Mathias, the CMO and CIO, respectively, at Aetna. They will be speaking at our upcoming CIO-CMO Forum on September 22, 2011, in Boston, so this serves as a bit of a preview to what should be an eye-opening presentation. Enjoy!
David Cooperstein: What external changes drove you to build a deeper partnership with your technology peers?
Robert Mead, senior vice president, Aetna marketing, product and communications: The US healthcare system is fragmented and well behind the curve in terms of price transparency and consumer-friendly products and services. The deep partnership between technology and marketing at Aetna lets us put leading-edge technologies and powerful tools and applications directly into the hands of people so that they can be confident consumers and informed patients. Our close collaboration with our colleagues in technology is driven by a few external factors:
The increasing cost of care and the corresponding changes in employer-based insurance — consumers are being asked to take more ownership of their health and wellness and their healthcare spending.
The introduction and rapid adoption of technology empowers consumers (and patients) to engage in the healthcare system where they are in life and in the way they want to be connected.
Healthcare reform aims to bring millions of previously uninsured Americans into the marketplace as consumers.
The competitive challenge that companies face today is driven by new issues that transcend classic distribution, brand, and product challenges. In the world we live in today, which Forrester defines as the Age of the Customer, firms need to look at how they deliver marketing and technology solutions that have visible impact on the customer.
Just the other day I was reminded of that when, sitting with a client, he described their competitive threat as coming from software products. That would be normal were it a tech company, but this was an airline! Yes, an airline that required technology and marketing to come together to define a customer experience that would differentiate them beyond seat configuration and route system. This highlighted to me the challenge that many companies face in this new era of disruption (for another view of how to think about this product challenge, see my colleague James McQuivey's recent report "Innovating the Adjacent Possible").
Charles Rutstein, Forrester's COO, sat down with my CIO Practice Leader peer Sharyn Leaver and me to discuss the role that CIOs and CMOs play in this customer-obsessed new world. See what we had to say here:
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.
Our Researcher Mike Glantz has been tracking the changes in TV media buying for us. Here are some thoughts from him on a new announcement from Nielsen and Kantar:
Although TV controls the lion’s share of the budget for most marketers, it has rarely been the most innovative or accountable medium. However, as TV becomes more fragmented and has to compete with digital, mobile, and over-the-top (OTT) video for viewers’ attention, marketers will need more granular data sets that allow them to track viewers across multiple platforms. In our Q4 2010 report “TV’s Currency Conversion” we made the call that set-top-box (STB) data will emerge as a parallel data currency with Nielsen for TV marketers. STB data allows marketers to accurately measure audiences across the tiniest cable networks, measure second-by-second commercial data, and compare audiences across TV and digital. We argued that STB data adoption would start with local marketers, since local marketers: