Advanced TV KPIs: How to Measure Success with Programmatic TV

by | Jul 30, 2019 | Education

Advanced TV, also called programmatic TV, is the future of television advertising. Knowing how to properly measure the performance of programmatically-delivered TV ads will set you up for success in what is shaping up to be a golden age for TV advertising and marketing.

Jump down to advanced TV KPIs →

We go much more in-depth in our What is Advanced TV? article, so give that a read when you get the chance. It might also be good to review the basics of digital advertising KPIs as well, which gives an overview of how KPIs generally work in digital marketing.

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Terminology Note

Because Advanced TV is an emerging technology, you will see just about everyone referring to similar concepts with different terms. For instance, some use programmatic TV and advanced TV interchangeably. Another example is that some refer to connected TV and OTT (over-the-top) as the same thing — even though OTT devices like Roku, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Sticks and video game consoles are their own separate things. Confusing, I know.

Just hang with it, we’re all in the same boat, buyers and sellers alike. Work with your demand-side platform (DSP) and make sure you’re on the same page. In the world of ad tech, standards form eventually and almost always end up being another acronym for all of us to memorize.

In summary, advanced TV is an umbrella term that encompasses three types of TV advertising: programmatic linear TV, addressable TV and connected TV (CTV). Each type of advanced TV uses programmatic ad technology to varying degrees, but as a whole they make some pretty big promises.

With Advanced TV, advertisers will:

  • Reach those elusive cord-cutters — around 40.2 million households in the US — with TV ads.
  • Be able to leverage cutting-edge technology and strategies like rich media experiences and second-screen viewing with mobile devices.
  • Combine the reach and cultural impact of traditional linear TV (i.e., a set-top box, broadcast, satellite and cable) with the scale, power and personalization of programmatic technology (for a deeper dive, read our When to Use Advanced TV article). 

Sounds good, right? But once you have an advanced TV campaign rolling, what metrics do you need to keep an eye on?

First, we need to unpack why measuring advanced TV is a unique task in the digital advertising industry.

What makes measuring programmatic TV advertising unique?

As mentioned above, advanced TV combines the strengths of traditional linear TV with power or programmatic technology. This introduces a few nuances you need to be aware of before diving deep into metrics and programmatic tv kpis.

Advanced TV vs. Linear TV

Put simply, advanced TV introduces a wealth of audience data that has never and will never be available in linear TV ad formats. The introduction of programmatic technology allows advertisers to target precisely and measure the impact of their video ad spend in near real-time.

As we laid out in our (Nearly) Complete Guide to Video Advertising all about programmatic video, the foundation of linear TV ad measurement is in gross rating points (GRP) and target rating points (TRP).

GRP is the calculation of how many people watch a certain program. TRP is the calculation of how many of those people are in your target audience as potential customers.

GRP is based on a rating system established by Nielsen where each demographic has a different weight. In the traditional linear approach, agencies project tv audience targeting using this calculation. Afterwards, you get a report on how many people actually watched your ad.

This approach doesn’t hold when it comes to advanced TV because audience figures alone cannot capture the full picture of campaign performance. The potential of programmatic technology means you can now:

  • Utilize third-party data.
  • Precisely target your audience.
  • Coordinate Advanced TV with other channels.
  • Monitor performance in real time.
  • Use a whole new lexicon of metrics.

All these inform which KPI advertisers should consider when using advanced TV. It opens the door to detailed audience profiles, cross-device measurement, actionable insights, real-world attribution models (e.g., foot traffic), and a more complete, real-time picture of ROI.

Advanced TV vs. Other Programmatic Advertising Channels

Programmatic channels generally use performance metrics. That means low-funnel conversions focused metrics like CTR (click-through rate).

But, advanced TV, more than even other digital video channels, is very much focused on awareness and upper-funnel tactics. In general, your viewers won’t click on an advanced TV ad, so measuring CTR or other similar metrics tracking conversion rate should not be your focus.

This introduces an age-old question: how do you measure awareness in a conversion-focused digital advertising ecosystem? By focusing on the right KPIs.

What are some good advanced TV KPIs?

When measuring the success of advanced TV ads, you should focus on metrics that align with your campaign’s objective. But be sure to keep an eye on all these metrics to get a full picture of performance.

GRP

Still a foundation how television ads are bought and measured, GRP isn’t going anywhere soon. According to Digiday, the phrase “No one loses their job buying GRPs” still holds a lot of sway.

Use GRP to bridge the gap between traditional linear TV and advanced TV. It’s a solid gut check to determine how many people your ad will reach and what your ad spend will achieve.

TRP

TRP is in pretty much the same boat as GRP because it’s also a more traditional KPI you can use transition into the new age of advanced TV.

The difference is that GRP is more of a quantity metric (how many people will see/saw my TV ad?), while TRP is more of a quality metric (how many people in my target demographic will see/saw my TV ad?).

Reach

Along with frequency and viewability, reach is one of the most important advanced TV metrics for providing context.

Reach is the number of unique people or households that see your ad. Use it to get an idea of how far you’re stretching each dollar you spend on your advanced TV ad.

One important thing to keep in mind is that advanced TV, and connected TV in particular, generally cannot provide the same reach you might expect in linear TV service. Prioritizing reach too much may lead to frequency issues.

Frequency

You do not want to bombard your audience with ad after ad after ad. Too much exposure too quickly will do more harm than good to your brand.

Frequency is the metric that tracks how many times a person sees your ad. It’s important to keep an eye on because, as mentioned above, too much weight on reach will lead to a high frequency that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of your target audience.

Viewability

One important nuance programmatic technology brings to the table for Advanced TV is the fact that not all impressions are viewable.

Which means your ads are not necessarily within view when they’re served to your audience.

It depends on which platform you’re advertising on, but in general, viewability will give you an idea of the effectiveness of your ad spend. Keeping an eye on it will provide insight into the quality of the inventory you’re buying for your ads.

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What do you mean it depends on the platform?

Certain platforms can all but guarantee 100% viewability. One example is Hulu, where the viewers have to watch the ads before they watch the video content.

Because, in general, apps and platforms like Hulu take up the entire screen (the TV, phone, tablet, etc.) and the viewer is forced to see the ad. In this case, viewability is important, but it doesn’t provide the same context it would otherwise. 

We go much more in depth in our article on viewability: 3 Viewability Benchmarks & Why It’s Important.

Video Completion Rate (VCR)

Maybe the most self explanatory of all the advertising KPI metrics, video completion rate (or just completion rate) measures how many people watch your ad all the way through.

Completion rate provides insight into how engaging your ad is as well as what type of ad inventory you’re buying. One caveat is that, like viewability (as explained above in “What do you mean it depends on the platform?”), some platforms (like Hulu and other video streaming services) can all but guarantee 100% completion rate because the viewer has to complete the ad to see the content.

On other platforms, completion rate can tell you if your audience cares about your brand. If the completion rate seems way too high, it may be time to look at viewable completed rate. It could be an indication of bad inventory and ad fraud, which is very important to keep an eye on to ensure brand safety.

Viewable completion rate, as it sounds, is the measurement of how many completed views were actually viewable. This is more a problem in programmatic native advertising and outstream video content (as explained in our programmatic video guide), but it’s still a metric to check in on when running advanced TV ads.

Cost per Completed View (CPCV)

CPCV tracks how much you’re spending per completed view. It’s a good metric to keep an eye on no matter what, but it’s particularly useful when you want to optimize towards (you guessed it) completed views.

If, like we mentioned above, you’re all but guaranteed a 100% completion rate, you may not want to focus so much on this. You might be better suited to focus on reach and impressions so you can get the most amount of relevant people seeing your ad as possible.

Cost per Impression (CPM)

CPM is a given for just about every digital advertising medium. And it’s a standard for a reason. Keep CPM in view as you evaluate all the other metrics you use.

Brand Lift & Other Awareness Studies

Advanced TV’s strength is in upper-funnel tactics. One of the best ways to understand how, exactly, awareness strategies impact your business is with a brand lift study.

According to IAB, brand lift is “an increase in a user’s interaction with your brand as a result of your ad campaign.” It’s a number put to the likelihood that, when a person feels peckish, they’ll reach for your snack brand first. Any positive movement in a brand lift study is great news.

Along with brand lift, brand awareness is something you can study. Brand awareness is how aware consumers are of your brand, whether or not they interact with it. A huge increase in brand awareness is not necessarily a good thing. For instance, Exxon after the Valdez Oil Spill had a huge increase in brand awareness.

Besides brand lift and awareness, you can also look into recall. Ad recall is how likely your audience is to remember your specific ad. Brand recall, on the other hand, is how likely your audience is to remember your brand. TV is a memorable medium and has the ability to shape culture (just look at the super bowl), so ad and brand recall can be useful for big budget commercials.

CTR & Other Engagement Metrics

As the capabilities of advanced TV increase, there is the potential for user interaction with your ads. In these cases, you’ll want to take into account engagement metrics to understand how effective your ad is at driving user interaction.

CTR is one such engagement metric (which is pretty well suited for other video channels like YouTube TrueView and social media). In general, these types of metrics are best used for gaining context, not necessarily as central pieces driving media plan creation and optimization decisions.

Cost per Visit & Attribution Technology

One of the most exciting developments programmatic technology introduces is attribution. Here’s an example tying connected TV to in-store foot traffic, allowing you to tie advanced TV buys to cost per visit.

  1. First, you get specific with your connected TV targeting by utilizing third-party geographic and psychographic data. 
  2. Next, you partner with a location attribution partner (like LumenAd partner Placed or a third-party data vendor) to measure who visits your store after seeing one of your ads.
  3. As your connected TV campaign develops you use retargeted display ads to keep your message top of mind. 
  4. Throughout the life of the campaign you can measure the lift in foot traffic and see how other channels (like display advertising) work with connected TV to achieve your goals.

To facilitate this, as tvtechnology.com says, you need a “provider deliver an apples-to-apples comparison of digital, mobile and other advertising mediums using the same metric.” LumenAd is such technology. It unites all data, marketing channels and vendors (like Placed) into one hub for accurate, easy to understand cross-channel performance. 

Which advanced TV KPIs should I use?

Sorry to say, but there is no standard answer to this question. As most media buyers know, each campaign is unique and requires its own tailored solution. The process of media planning, ad buying (particularly programmatic tv buying) and reporting is both an art and a science. This is the art part.

What we can provide is general guidance.

Jackson, LumenAd campaign analyst, says “I use CPCV as a benchmark. A lot of what I focus on revolves around that metric. Then I’ll also keep an eye on CPM.”

Anthony Boyer, LumenAd account manager, says that he likes to look at viewability, frequency and completion rate to tell the story of campaign performance.

If you’d like to discuss more about this, or learn about LumenAd’s reporting capabilities, schedule a demo today.

You need to pick one metric to prioritize above all others. Use the other metrics as guideposts along the way to provide a full picture of what’s happening in your digital campaigns.

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