CEO Insights: Four Lessons Learned in 2017

2017 has been an exciting year, for me personally and for Verto. As we approach the final days of the year, I’ve taken some time to reflect on what I’ve learned from customers and colleagues, and four takeaways that I’ll carry into the new year:

1. How to develop meaningful measurement standards.

We say “measure the consumer in context,” and we mean it. But context is always in flux. Over the past five years alone, we’ve seen consumers move from being primarily web-centric to being more app-centric. At the same time, consumer behavior is moving into a truly cross-device era, as consumers incorporate connected household consumer electronics and wearable devices into their daily lives, and start to use personal assistant apps and devices into their homes, cars, and more. But one thing remains clear and constant: the need for a holistic, independent, and transparent way to measure, understand, and interpret consumer behavior while still keeping privacy paramount. By observing the apps, services and devices that real people use and the context in which they use them, you gain a powerful understanding of consumer behavior and attention. For example, brands increasingly prioritize insights about what people do before and after using a certain media property, where they use it, how they use different channels, and how one individual behaves across multiple screens. Bottom line – even with all the big data in the world, brands and marketers need to validate how and where they invest ad dollars. The IAB Europe’s Digital Measurement Priorities Report 2017 discovered that “90% of publishers, brands and agencies say cross-media measurement would help drive digital ad spend.” We want to make sure that Verto’s insights are exactly what brands and agencies need to invest today and in the future.

2. Speed to insight is more critical than ever.

It is not enough to deliver interesting and high-quality data, but our clients need to act on them, quickly.  At Verto, we have the pleasure of working with some of the biggest technology brands in the world like Google, Microsoft, and Spotify. We collaborate with each of our clients closely. They help us explore new use cases for our data, such as developing more in-depth user segmentation modes, specific mobile app-focused usage profiling and tracking, and using surveys to gain additional insights to compliment passive behavioral data.

Members of the Verto team in Finland.
Members of the Verto team in Finland.

3. The landscape for market research and measurement is changing fast.

It’s one of the main reasons we were so excited to bring Liz Musch and her market research expertise to the Verto board this fall. I’ve increasingly been hearing feedback from our customers and prospects about the value of audience insights – instead of just audience ratings. Basic metrics like reach and frequency estimates are no longer enough; instead, customers require more depth and value, especially as consumers increasingly adopt multi-device, multitasking behaviors. Brands and media publishers, in particular, simply need to improve their performance when it comes to convincing consumers to act and buy their products. They don’t care which device or devices those purchases come from. Audience insights are the key to decoding the complex consumer journey: learning how consumers discover, research, search, compare, and buy products, as opposed to simple total reach or frequency metrics. Verto has been able to deliver data as visualizations combined with insights in new, deeper formats, such as our Day in Life visualizations of a consumer’s digital behavior over the course of a day, or cross-device path-to-purchase models. This not only helps our clients have better conversations with buyers and stakeholders and validate their numbers, but they are a vital role in creating interesting stories about their audiences. When are they online? What devices do they use, and what types of content are they using to access it all?

4. The importance of building the right team.

Culture is important to every company, and especially at Verto. The company is growing rapidly, and in a global environment: our center of excellence is based in Finland, and we have teams in New York, San Francisco, and London. Being connected, inclusive, and transparent is not just a prerogative, it’s a necessary and vital element in Verto’s DNA. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished over the past year: we’ve made significant new hires in our technology and product teams, made impressive gains in our revenue numbers, and received accolades from industry groups in the U.S. and Europe. And none of this would have been possible without the right people and collaborative spirit in place. As the Verto family continues to grow, maintaining our company culture and recruiting the very best candidates will be one of my top priorities.

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