This year, for the very first time, brands are expected to spend more (around $130 billion) on digital advertising than they’ll spend on all traditional ad mediums combined ($110 billion). And a sizeable chunk of this digital spend is going into video; 2019 has seen an average 25% rise in marketers’ digital video budgets, with the majority of brands indicating they plan to increase their investments next year.
The Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA) thinks it can accelerate this space’s growth even more quickly by providing brands with an established set of industry-standard, dependable metrics to measure exactly how well digital videos are performing for them.
For digital video, the primary performance metric has always been views. But the GVMA thinks views aren’t enough. That’s why, in partnership with video analytics firm Tubular Labs, the alliance (comprising Vice, BuzzFeed, Viacom, Discovery, Mattel, Group Nine Media, Ellen Digital Network, and Corus Entertainment) has been working to introduce metrics that are commonly used to measure the performance of TV programs — metrics like deduplicated views (which accommodates the possibility that some viewers will view videos multiple times), total watch time, and average watch time per user.
“Social video is sometimes greater in reach and engagement compared to TV,” Cathy Song Novelli, vice president of marketing at ecommerce company Rakuten Ready, told veteran reporter Mike Shields for his official report on Tubular and the GVMA’s endeavor. “But there doesn’t seem to be a global standard for social video versus other entertainment. And until you’re apples-to-apples as a medium, you’re going to struggle.”
The reason Tubular and the GVMA are using TV metrics as a foundation is the television industry’s standardization. Established measurement firm Nielsen set the standard: on TV, one “view” equals 30 seconds of a set being tuned to the same channel. Nielsen regularly releases objective data about viewership gleaned by programs across many networks. With social video, though, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube each have their own unique idea of what makes a “view,” and prefer to do the counting themselves.
Those struggles around platforms’ differences and lack of data transparency have prevented billions of dollars (potentially $13 billion annually) from being invested into social video advertising and programming for those platforms. And they could prevent billions more from being invested in the booming industry in the coming years, too.
Or they would, without TV-like metrics that bring these social video audiences to parity with those in living rooms. With the GVMA bringing these metrics to market for social video as well, it has the potential to make them commonplace on those platforms as well. The results should mean brands and publishers can finally cash in on large and attentive audiences through social, the same way TV has for decades.
The GVMA’s endeavor will also goes a step further than simply digitizing current television metrics. TV metrics are generally restricted to particular geographical areas — the U.S., for example. The GVMA, however, wants to provide a global look at the viewing habits of internet denizens. Being able to see viewership data from all over the globe could allow advertisers and content creators to realize video revenues across borders, mimicking the way social content is actually viewed in the first place.
This plan is detailed in a new report from TV[R]EV and Shields. Along with speaking to Tubular, Shields chats with key decisionmakers like Discovery, Group Nine, Hasbro, and more on both the publisher and brand side to get a closer look at the industry’s top problems, and how Tubular and the GVMA’s TV-like metrics could solve them and unlock revenue opportunities across platforms.
You can read the full report here.