4 Highlights from the Alphonso TV Summit: Examining Audience Data in the Cross-Device Era

I recently spoke at the Alphonso Upfront Summit alongside Jonathan Bokor (Mediavest), Tal Chalozin (Innovid), Raghu Kodige (Alphonso TV), and Fred Schonenberg (Venture Fuel).

We discussed the need for and use of audience data and the evolution of TV for today’s cross-device consumer, and had fun in debating the possible directions for the future of mobile convergence!

Following are some of the highlights from the panel, including the four cornerstones that marketers and publishers expect from today’s media measurement services.

Highlight #1: Volume of Data

There are increasing demands for granularity in big data. Long-tail data matters more and more as we seek to understand consumers’ daily and hourly behaviors. It used to be that it was okay to run surveys and estimate ratings and generic demographic splits for the big TV or radio stations with small but high-quality samples. But that approach doesn’t work anymore.

Advertisers’ requirements are different, and much more challenging. Media buying and selling is increasingly programmatic, yet also targeted and personalized. The daily execution of advertising is sometimes automatic, and sometimes semi-automatic. Today, both the granularity and the volume of data are crucial; high-level estimations are not enough.

Highlight #2: Scope and Quality of Metrics

The market has been clear about the dissatisfaction with older audience measurement solutions. These metrics have not been usable, practical or of sufficient quality. For an increasing number of publishers, desktop reach does not matter. Digital publishers want to see deep metrics on mobile, to analyze the competition and to validate user engagement.

People increasingly explore content, download apps and go about their busy lives, often using multiple screens and devices simultaneously. Older measurement services are not able to measure these types of audience engagement, whether it be logging conversions and retention, understanding where users are coming from, understanding where they’re going next or finding out how to boost long-term adoption of media properties and services.

Actionable metrics, like cross-device path-to-purchase, mobile conversions, and purchase activities, are crucial today. The market needs concrete, in-depth data to prove lift and engagement. For many digital industry players, they have not yet seen the quality or scope they have requested or were promised.

Here’s a video that further explains the issue and how Verto is solving it. 

Highlight #3: Comparability

The idea of keeping track of TV, radio, online and mobile users in silos is history. The boundaries among these channels and platforms are blurred now. Measuring the reach of a television program in a very specific way is markedly different from the way unique website visitors are measured. Today we need to measure content consumption from a multitude of devices and platforms – from linear TV to mobile streaming video services, to time-shifted content from a Xbox.

The industry cannot function well using measurement services that isolate the different channels from each other. A marketer must determine the optimal media mix and investment level across various advertising channels which means that all channels must be measured in a comparable way. The industry does need any more “black boxes.” The industry requires transparency.

Highlight #4:Integration

Today’s industry players are less interested in personal relationships, conference calls or emailed XLS or PPT files. Instead, they want business intelligence platforms and dashboards, programmatic decision-making and automated data flows. In this world, the key question is, of course, how to get the data to flowing in the right way, from one place to another.

We discussed how APIs are playing a huge role in ensuring that every platform can be plugged into other tools and systems, depending on the client’s or partner’s needs. This requirement for integration and flexibility to process, aggregate and utilize audience data, in real-time, is continuing at a fast pace.

Obviously, many of these goals and trends are conflicting. It is extremely challenging to achieve both volume and quality simultaneously. At the same time, integrations are easy for one platform; but can you build data assets and a utilization logic that also ensures everything is comparable – complete with data integrity?

All of these important topics, in practice, face many trade-offs. At Verto, we’re working to capture all these needs around audience data in one single-source solution.

Thanks to Ashish and all others at Alphonso for the invitation to join the conversation at this great event.

To learn more about what we do, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn. Or contact us to get a link to the video from the panel.