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TV Attribution: Next-Gen TV Analytics Within the Digital Ecosystem

Volume 6, Issue 10 - October, 2016

Robert Katz, Account Manager, Visual IQ

The digital age has created an ever-expanding online metropolis of shopping, news, gaming and entertainment that has transformed the way brands and consumers interact. The highly granular, user-level data produced online enables advertisers to deliver fully personalized, customizable experiences across many different channels and tactics. Digital analytics enable optimization on a daily basis to ensure ads are targeted to the brand’s desired audience, at exactly the right time.

Yet, even with digital’s allure of better targeting and measurement, advertisers continue to invest heavily in TV for its broad reach. The two biggest TV analytics players, Nielsen and Rentrak, provide ratings performance by cable provider, network, TV show and potentially episode with the date and time of airing. For decades, advertisers have been putting money into TV based on an isolated understanding of reach, with little insight into the influence of other channels, or the effectiveness of their TV media in persuading users to consider, interact and ultimately convert.

Research shows that 87% of TV viewers utilize at least one additional source (i.e. phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) while watching TV – meaning their most immediate response to seeing your TV ad will likely be some form of digital engagement with your brand. Therefore, creating a holistic picture of performance now means connecting the dots between TV advertising and digital responses. Enter TV attribution.

Bringing Online Accountability to TV Advertising
Marketers have long acknowledged the benefits of accounting for every marketing touchpoint. Advanced bottom-up attribution solutions aggregate all addressable media channels and user-level touchpoints (impressions/clicks) into one data ecosystem, enabling you to understand the full customer journey and accurately assign conversion or brand engagement credit to each touchpoint and dimension (publisher, placement, keyword, etc.) experienced by every converting and non-converting user. With this granular level of insight, you can make smarter investment decisions that improve efficiency and effectiveness.

TV attribution enables you to bring the same standard of accountability to your TV investments as your digital investments. It quantifies the impact that each dimension of TV (network, geography, spot length, etc.) has on desired digital actions (website visits, store locator searches, form completes, etc.) within minutes, hours or days of a spot airing, so you can make more informed optimization decisions.

Getting TV Attribution Right
While there are a number of modern TV attribution solutions available, applying the right methodology is what makes the information it produces actionable. Here are some key aspects to look for in a top-tier TV attribution solution:

  • Any sound TV attribution solution will give you the option of using a third-party TV analytics source (such as Nielsen or Rentrak), or supplying your own TV data from the media buying agency, cable provider or TV network.
  • The most accurate TV attribution solutions apply a multi-dimensional, algorithmic approach, which looks at historic, granular-level TV impression data (program, daypart, etc.), along with digital response data (landing page visits, white paper downloads, etc.) to determine an accurate baseline of digital response activity. Each time the model runs, it calculates the incremental lift over baseline driven by a TV ad on a desired digital response, including online conversions.
  • Best-in-class TV attribution models won’t artificially inject TV touchpoints into the digital user journey. Solutions that try to guess which of your digital users also saw your TV ads affect the integrity of the data used for modeling, as well as the accuracy of the resulting metrics.
  • Sophisticated TV attribution solutions will tease out the causal impact of each TV spot. The result is a granular view of the impact that each dimension of TV has on desired digital actions – rather than merely the size of the audience a spot will reach – so marketers can make informed optimization decisions.

Accurately measuring TV advertising’s impact has long been a challenge. For decades, advertisers have been investing billions in TV based on little more information than the number and target demographic a show will reach. TV attribution now offers the ability to tie business outcomes to every aspect of a TV buy. This granular understanding of TV advertising performance may challenge the traditional mindset, but in the end, will bring more accountability to a channel that often occupies the single largest line item in the marketing budget.

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