In early August YouTube informed its customers that from January it will start selling connected TV advertising globally on the basis of information collected by its internal research. This is raising hackles in the planning industry because it apparently contradicts what Google was promoting in March this year around independent measurement and opens the door to consolidating systems without third-party auditing.
In January next year the platform will start marketing to connected TVs based on direct viewer surveys and buyers are wary.
This is reflected in AdAge, which has been pulsing with concern from the buying side. Some agencies see this move as problematic, especially given that the exercise of measuring on connected TV multiplies the complexity of monitoring for players like Nielsen on traditional TV. More and more users and advertising budgets are migrating from one format to another, with no great consensus on independent measurement at the moment.
In fact, Google is following in the footsteps of Amazon, which already last year started reporting consumption linked to National Football League (NFL) games. These data are significantly higher than those offered by Nielsen and the e-commerce giant announced in May that it would also provide information from VideoAmp and iSpot.
It is precisely the underlying dissatisfaction with the adaptability of the traditional US online TV meter for decades that explains the situation.
Nielsen has recently regained its accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC) to operate in that segment there, after 19 months of withdrawal for miscalibrating consumption in the most severe part of the pandemic. That vacuum has caused an earthquake of as yet undiscernible consequences and the company is working hard to regain market confidence in an entirely new and changing landscape. Planners who prefer will still be able to use the measurement giant’s Digital Ad Ratings data to buy space on YouTube, although it is unclear for how long.
The aggregate viewing principle has historically been one of the key aspects of negotiating TV ad buys. Typically such consumption includes more than one person, particularly in households with children, and until now Nielsen has had an advantage in this respect. With the change announced by YouTube, that information will now come from their own internal surveys in which they ask viewers how many people have been watching a particular broadcast and develop a multiplier. The measure is global but its implementation will differ depending on the platform’s measurement partners in each market.