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Connection, Conversion, and Currency

Performance marketing experts weigh in on today’s key issues in advance of PDMI West 2023.

By Thomas Haire

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As the Performance-Driven Marketing Institute (PDMI) team began to build out content for October’s PDMI West event in San Diego, the must-cover trends became apparent rather quickly: media measurement and currency; attribution for performance marketing sales; the expanding role of connected TV (CTV) as an outlet of choice; and how agencies — both creative and media — are helping their clients navigate the changing landscape.

We’re excited about the educational sessions that highlight PDMI West’s calendar. So excited, in fact, that we decided to seek insights on these same topics in advance of our fall event from a group of PDMI members and PDMI West speakers.

Read on to hear feedback from 17 thought leaders, representing 15 companies — media outlets, media agencies, creative experts, and measurement pioneers — about the state of performance marketing media, technology, and the industry’s near-term future. Responses have been lightly copyedited for content, clarity, and space.

What word would you use to describe the state of media measurement and currency right now — and why?

Nancy Arnold, chief marketing officer, Diray Media: Fragmented.

Richard Bertodatti, senior vice president, multimedia and audience sales, TelevisaUnivision: Testing. Every agency, client, publisher, measurement, and currency provider is doing ongoing testing for current or alternative measurement/currency providers to evaluate what works best for the KPIs (key performance indicators) that they are working toward. This is causing a lot of great questions, dialogue, testing, deep dives, etc., that will help inform the new (and ever-evolving) state of currency and measurement in 2024 and beyond.

Chris Brombach, senior vice president, integrated media, Cannella Media: Fluid. The industry has acknowledged the need for more accurate measurement that quantifies both audience delivery and attributed performance — across linear and streaming.

Patrick Burney, performance sales lead, Samsung Ads: Complexification. This characterizes the intricate state of media measurement and currency today. With new currencies emerging, the industry debates the blurred line between transactional metrics and assessment measurements. Evolving consumer behavior renders impression-based metrics less accurate, while the pursuit of unduplicated reach faces challenges due to device proliferation.

Viewership and reach, though emphasized, are considered shallow metrics without ROI insights. The ad industry needs to continue to shift away from focusing purely on impressions to metrics aligned with campaign goals, considering transactional costs, viewer experience, creative quality, and outcomes.

In this state of complexification, there isn’t a one-sizefits-all solution for measurement. Ultimately, each advertiser needs to think beyond impressions to focus on the metrics that are most meaningful to their specific business objectives.

Brian Catterson, senior vice president of DR ad sales, A+E Networks: Words like "disruptive" and "messy" certainly come to mind when describing the current situation in our industry. We’re experiencing a fundamental shift in the way long-form video is being distributed, leading to significant audience fragmentation and more layers of complexity in measurement and attribution. There’s a major evolution taking place in the metrics and KPIs that brands now consider most valuable in evaluating the performance and effectiveness of their media investments. And we’re watching as Nielsen’s 70-plus-year iron-clad grip on measurement and currency across our industry begins to loosen considerably.

But I think the word I’d use to describe it all is "inspirational." Having worked in the performance marketing space my entire career, I’m inspired by the wider industry finally taking a page from our handbook and moving away from one-size-fits-all conversations around archaic age/gender demo delivery and toward more tailored conversations around measuring, evaluating, and optimizing against actual brand performance. We still have a ways to go in figuring it all out across every screen and device, but the future is bright.

Carey Chase, senior vice president of media, Modus Direct: Fuzzy. As an agency, the data we work with across the varied media measurement platforms is viewed as more directional rather than absolute. Different measurement platforms, and algorithms, actively alter the data we use to make buying decisions. All of this makes the media buying process trickier than the days of unique toll-free numbers and/or Nielsen books to post against.

Christine Georgakakis, senior vice president, advertising sales, Reelz: Fragmentation. Data is being gathered from various platforms in various ways, and there are many measurement providers available to analyze the data — but there is not one currency across the landscape.

Joseph Gray, senior vice president of DR solutions, Liberating. For decades past, the television industry has operated within the confines of a single currency and measurement solution. Now that new deterministic data is available from smart televisions and connected TV devices, our industry can benefit from deterministic state-of-the-art media measurement and currency methodologies. If you sum that up in a single word, it feels … liberating!

Fern Lee, CEO, THOR Associates: Transitional. Attribution fluctuates with omnichannel delivery of linear, digital, Amazon, CTV, OTT, and influencer campaign distribution.

Michael Lyons, chief investment officer, Juice Media: Customized. Clients have been forced to forge their own paths and seek out solutions that better fit their needs. Progressive clients have been asking for outcome-based measurement solutions for quite some time. These solutions do not currently exist in a unified fashion across mediums. This has led to a migration away from the status quo served up by Nielsen and the holding companies and have led clients to create custom solutions with innovative agencies and publishers looking to evolve their businesses.

Delia Marshall, COO, Eicoff: Opportunity! We’re seeing a trend that marketers are more focused than ever on performance — whether they have a performance background or not. CMOs are feeling the pressure to drive measurable sales. That presents an opportunity to think about the measurement of media differently and shift, in small or large ways, into performance-first strategies. Those moves will unlock learnings for brands that they didn’t know were possible.

Scott Morin, director, advanced advertising, Paramount: Opportunity. For reasons that have been well documented, the door has been opened for our industry to take a deep look at the way things have long been and examine if the reasons we continue to do things that way are sound, or if they are born out of factors like complacency and fear of change. Never have we seen as much disruption in this space, and disruption doesn’t occur without some level of dissatisfaction or disenchantment in the status quo.

Rich Radzik, vice president, Advocado BVS: Progress. I could have used the typical adjectives for this like fragmented, evolving, or even chaotic, but there has been progress. The industry agrees that media fragmentation and the continued erosion of linear TV viewership has made the long-standing traditional sampling techniques (Nielsen) inadequate to accurately calculate and measure the success of campaigns. There is no longer one show in town, and agencies and brands now have options to better measure meaningful outcomes across platforms. They are not just testing these new options or supplementing them but are implementing them across platforms.

David Tiberia, vice president of analytics, Bluewater: Fractured. There is literally no way to do this easily. While no one really trusted Nielsen numbers, they were consistent and universally used. TV is open. It’s a visible medium and broadcast for anyone to see and track. With the rise of streaming, there is too much hidden and proprietary data to easily measure it. Even when Nielsen stumbled, no one was able to deliver a reasonable alternative. Without some type of open standard, measuring will remain fractured and difficult to execute.

Shira Witelson, founder, RSLT: Encouraging. Despite the abundance of measurement platforms, the current state of media measurement and currency is encouraging due to the emergence of new rules and regulations that are setting the stage for more ethical measurement solutions. These regulations are helping ensure more accurate and transparent measurement practices in the industry, instilling confidence in the data-driven decisions made by advertisers and media professionals.

Direct-to-consumer and performance marketers have long used other methodologies to assess their success. What does this new universe of media currency options bring to the table that D2C marketers haven’t seen before?  

Karen Kluger, founder/CEO, TouchPoint Integrated Communications: D2C marketers have always been datacentric to prove a campaign’s success, focusing on backend KPIs of sales/revenue/qualified leads. New currencies deliver deeper insights, combining backend data with frontend views/reach/engagement for a holistic view of the customer journey and identifying media touchpoints influencing their path to engagement.


These insights drive campaign optimizations, forward planning, and testing, which are essential to growth and ensuring campaigns evolve with consumer consumption habits. New currencies also confirm what we’ve known all along, which is D2C campaigns generate awareness and build brands.


Arnold: What this new universe of media currency allows us to do is better tell a complete and holistic story across all touchpoints, regardless of whether we are talking about streaming or linear. This means we can better intersect with our target audience(s) no matter where they are in their journey.


Bertodatti: Media currency is usually utilized as a secondary metric to the primary performance metrics that agencies and clients utilize. However, now that some of the new currency providers are also offering attribution methodologies, it may open additional opportunities for performance marketers to standardize across common metrics for both traditional media currency, as well as performance metrics — all by the same partner.


Brombach: The new universe of media currency options aims to unify viewership and consumption, holistically, across both traditional and streaming. Additionally, the integration of full-funnel, multitouch attribution allows for a more dynamic understanding of true audience and media impact.


Catterson: Performance brands have always tracked how their media investments impact business outcomes like CAC, web visitations, app downloads, and any number of KPIs. Now with more sophisticated measurement offerings from vendors like iSpot, VideoAmp, Comscore, and others, clients are getting access to a more robust toolset to measure the effectiveness and performance of their campaigns. From a currency standpoint, publishers are now able to step beyond demo delivery guarantees and shift to transacting and guaranteeing on the actual business metrics that really move a brand’s business forward.


Chase: It’s made the data collection and analytics part of the business as important as the media-outlet relationship part of the business. You need to have an analytics team that truly understands how the different platforms and algorithm models compare in order to optimize performance.


That said, the new methodologies overall allow us to better capture activity by "rogue" customers who don’t follow the normal marketing path but still complete transactions by searching the web after seeing a message.


Georgakakis: Performance marketers have always led the way when it comes to measurement. The new universe of media currency has brought the advanced technology to the table that allows for the ease of doing business and the dynamic optimization of advertising campaigns.


Gray: The direct-response industry, where consumer response and business outcomes can be measured and tracked back to individual TV network/dayparts, has long struggled with the fact that traditional impressions are hard to prove against a return-on-advertising-spend (ROAS).


Said another way, traditional audience-based measurement can struggle at the task of informing direct response TV media strategies. These experiences have caused many of us to feel that legacy audience measurement methodology is flawed. In contrast, smart TV and connected devices allow us to measure commercial exposures in addition to actions taken at the household level. So, TV advertising can now have the same level of accountability as digital.


We can see the correlation between commercial exposures over time and measure downstream actions like household web visits and/or app downloads. This means more branded direct-to-consumer advertisers can measure ROAS, and/or media efficiency ratios, back to specific media placements — all without having to use custom URLs or 800 numbers. This technology turns brand advertisers into direct response advertisers with key new synergies between the methodologies associated with each. The result is a new type of multitouch, deterministic attribution that is far more accurate than the probabilistic solutions of the past, paving the way for a new era of audience measurement.


Lee: It brings new customer acquisition. The new universe of options allows for marketing leadership to test new models for messaging and, in turn, customer loyalty, which leads to growth revenue. A prediction: DTC and performance marketing will soon be referred to as "Growth Revenue."


Lyons: Frankly, it is a bit of the first point. D2C clients were some of the first advertisers to rebuke the status quo of impression-based measurement in scale. They looked for accountable attribution solutions with tighter windows by channel and — for the first time — included linear as part of that measurement suite.


That was a great start and a new beginning for the way networks and publishers were held accountable for their share of marketing spend. Make no mistake: this was a massive improvement over impression-based models.


Now, we are in a world of pushing the envelope even further. Clients have seen that there are times when the individual channel silos do not equal the whole of the business. The next step in understanding the total impact of a marketing portfolio is incorporating multitouch attribution into the tech stack. This gives clients a true look at how their entire portfolio performs and gives them a greater understanding of the customer journey.


Marshall: New media currency options should unlock opportunities for D2C and performance marketers to push into audience-first strategies where they haven’t before: leveraging ACR data; pulling first-party data sets into universes with media currency; building custom audience profiles. This all represents the kind of shift forward that is necessary to truly get brands into audience-first thinking.


Morin: The size and scale of the new currency data sets — coupled with their ability to drive attribution measurement through scaled identity and exposure data — provide a better way to analyze, target, and measure campaigns. From a currency perspective, aligning currency with these new activation strategies creates total alignment of interests between all parties — the ultimate expression of partnership.

Radzik: The D2C marketers are in a much better position to adapt to the new media currencies than any other group. While basic reach-and-frequency measurements were part of their KPI metrics, they were not the most important. Since day one, DTC and performance marketers optimized and attributed based on more granular, accurate, and meaningful metrics like CPC, CPO, and — most importantly — sales conversions in real time. Many more general advertisers are deploying better KPIs that mirror what the D2C marketplace has been doing for 40 years — but it’s much harder for them to adapt. I have said this for the past 10 years: a D2C agency/brand is fully prepared and trained for any of these changes.


Tiberia: Not much yet. The de-emphasis on ratings and GRPs helps D2C agencies because we’ve always been great at delivering cost-effective impressions, but the way media is purchased never optimizes for GRPs. As more brands lean into impression loads, it will make more advertisers comfortable with response-driven and optimized TV buying methods. If in the long run, the lack of "centralized" currency creates inroads to an open standard for data sharing, then there will be real advantages for D2C marketers as response measurement could become easier and more connected.


Witelson: In recent years, the assessment of advertising effectiveness, particularly on television, has predominantly relied on two methods: using 800 numbers and tracking viewers’ IP addresses. However, both approaches have significant limitations. Relying solely on 800 numbers provides only a partial view of the effectiveness, failing to account for online engagement and conversions. This led to the adoption of the second approach, which involves tracking viewers by leveraging their home IP addresses. However, this method carries substantial risks as IP addresses can be linked to personal information, jeopardizing a brand’s reputation and consumer trust.


But there is a new, groundbreaking methodology available that harnesses the power of machine learning and first-party data. This approach offers distinct advantages that were previously unavailable to direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketers. Unlike traditional IP address tracking, this method prioritizes viewer privacy, a critical concern in today’s data-sensitive landscape. D2C marketers can now gain valuable insights without intruding into individuals’ personal information. This precision can be achieved by leveraging machine learning algorithms, enabling D2C marketers to accurately measure the impact of their TV commercials, identifying which advertisements resonate with their target audience and which ones fall short.

Once Nielsen’s hold over TV outlets and brand advertisers broke, an array of data and measurement companies entered the marketplace with their own currency offerings. What solutions are — or should be — most important to video performance marketers?

Eric Helgesen, COO, Diray Media: For video performance marketers navigating the fragmented landscape of linear, streaming, CTV, and digital video, the first priority is identifying trustworthy solutions that serve both the agency and its clients. A unified data view is essential for understanding consumer behavior across platforms, complemented by advanced audience segmentation and attribution models to target and measure effectiveness. Quality metrics provide a deeper layer of engagement analysis. Transparency in data practices is non-negotiable, and solutions must be scalable to adapt to changing needs while remaining affordable to ensure a strong ROI.

Bertodatti: This is extremely variable based on the client and agency KPIs and needs to be carefully selected to ensure that the partner(s) being utilized is checking as many boxes as possible — while also ensuring representation of all types of audiences in their panels/datasets.

Brombach: Companies such as Comscore, VideoAmp, and iSpot now have a prominent seat at the table because of more statistically significant measurement methodologies, ability to leverage deterministic data, and deeper understanding of the entire customer journey.

Burney: In the post-Nielsen era, the influx of data and measurement companies has spurred the quest for essential solutions among video performance marketers across various platforms —linear, streaming, CTV, and digital video. Crucial solutions encompass cross-platform consistency, multi-touch attribution, audience insights, viewability and fraud detection, real-time analytics, cross-device tracking, engagement metrics, conversion tracking, content relevance assessment, ad creative testing, privacy compliance, and customizable metrics.

While these solutions empower marketers to optimize video campaigns effectively — ensuring accurate measurement, audience targeting, and alignment with business outcomes, regardless of the chosen platform — there isn’t a single platform or provider that checks all the boxes of today’s complex measurement needs. It takes a strategic combination of partners to gain a full picture of holistic ad performance.

Catterson: The holy grail for performance marketers has always been in perfecting the measurement of audiences across screens and devices, and in tracking a consumer’s path from initial ad exposure all the way through to sale (or any number of KPIs) and beyond. As the leaders in this space, the performance community must work to continue to demand the best solutions that matter most for our brands: across screens, across platforms, and across different measurement options. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different brands will have different measurement needs.

Chase: Solutions that can provide consistent methodology, reliability, and as much detail as possible — details within the data that we as marketers can then translate into trends which then develop into forward-thinking media strategies. The data that currently comes from streaming/CTV/digital video placements is not very specific, which makes it difficult to replicate in future media plans.

Linear is still the easiest channel to buy and optimize because we receive all the details (date and time/programming/impressions) for the airing. Streaming/CTV/digital video is more difficult because most of the time, the platform is usually the only airing detail you receive back.

Also, it’s important to remember that few consumers think of their viewing behavior as either linear or streaming, since live TV is available through what we’ve always considered streaming platforms. So, the new measurement is a hybrid process that tracks streaming/CTV activity as tightly as possible based on ads delivered, and layers in traditional time-based monitoring to see the linear activity. The best solutions are the ones that can see beyond the artificial linear and streaming lanes.

Georgakakis: The solution would be the one that best suits the clients KPIs.

Gray: I am a huge fan of deterministic solutions empowered by smart TV and connected device data. Whether you are measuring linear TV, streaming, or CTV, these large consumer household panels, built from smart devices at massive scale, are a real game changer. In the world of CTV or streaming, these are consumer-targeted video mediums that require direct integration with the media providers given the walled-garden nature of their offerings.

Lee: Martech has found its way into the womb of the television mothership. The most important solutions will consider the loss of third-party cookies while, at the same time, capture repeatable, sustainable, and innovative delivery of offers, brand messaging, and retargeting.

Lyons: We think this was a major step in the evolution of the media marketplace. It sent a clear message to publishers and agencies that clients are demanding better tools to measure a more complex and dynamic marketplace. These custom approaches have led to innovations we haven’t seen for more than 50 years in a multibillion-dollar marketplace. Ultimately, we see publishers taking steps to be more accountable for their contributions and giving clients the opportunity to increase investment in marketing because they have greater certainty in the outcomes.

Marshall: As with all things performance-focused, it’s important to test and to be open to the fact that your approach to measurement, as to all things in marketing, will evolve over time. Marketers should think about where they want to be 12-24 months from now. Do you want to better understand your customers? Do you want to reduce media waste? Do you want to expand to new audiences? Based on these questions, it will be important to consider solutions that allow you to marry your first-party sales data with both online and offline media data (impressions, impact, attribution) in one universe to give you the levers to optimize across channel.

Morin: Our approach to this conversation is one of agnosticism. When we look at the various currency partners that we are willing to work with, we use a standard set of criteria in our evaluation. Do we agree with the methodology being used? Is the data stable over time? Can the data be applied effectively for both demo and audience-based transactions? Can we incorporate their data into our and our partners existing tech stacks and workflows with minimal disruption? If a currency provider checks all those boxes, then we light up the ability to transact with us through them. But ultimately, what will determine the companies that win this space is going to be buy-side demand.

Radzik: The data provider must first be proven with accurate audit-quality data. Second, it must be real time — and when I say real time, I mean within an hour of when the media airs. Third, it can no longer be done in a "black box" or behind a curtain. Our industry has tolerated working in the dark far too long, and we now must work in a "glass-box" atmosphere to fully understand how the measurement and performance is calculated. Lastly, and obviously, it must be done similarly across media platforms — not siloed.

Witelson: In navigating this evolving landscape, one of the crucial considerations for video performance marketers should be the ethical collection and usage of data. Many of the new currency offerings rely on data sourced from individuals without informed consent, raising significant ethical and legal concerns. Marketers should prioritize solutions that are transparent about their data collection methods and obtain explicit consent from users.


The blurring lines in media buying/selling between brand marketers and D2C/performance marketers adds another level of confusion for measurement companies, data companies, and agencies to navigate. What’s the biggest challenge your business faces from this shifting marketplace?

Bertodatti: This is all positive information. That is sometimes obfuscated by the need to deliver on the demo guarantee. Knowing and being aligned on the KPI that the client/agency is driving toward helps publishers work more closely with the client/agency to collaborate and ensure that publishers are implementing the tools/partners necessary to ensure alignment and maximizing on the true KPI of client/agency success.


The biggest challenges, however, are wall-garden data sets and partners that do not allow standardization across all partners, nor allow detailed information about blackbox methodology. Clients/agencies needs to be the partners that ensure that the walled-garden partners are working and comingling data using that same manner as other open publishers/partners. Otherwise, it’s just the walled gardens grading their own homework and trusting their metrics vs. being reviewed/monitored by a third party.


Brombach: It’s more important than ever to acknowledge the complexity of a customer’s journey through the entire funnel, and its relationship with various media touchpoints throughout that journey.


Chase: It used to be brand marketers paid more for higher impression delivery and programming that aligned with their target audience while D2C marketers focused on performance, using campaign results as their currency at the negotiation table. In essence, we stayed in our perceived "lane." Now, it feels like everyone (brand and D2C) is chasing efficiency and determining if a campaign is successful has become more layered and complex.


Helgesen: The single most pressing challenge for us as an agency today is the intricate task of curating a data and measurement ecosystem that can seamlessly integrate both brand marketing and performance marketing to meet our clients’ increasingly diverse needs. This complexity involves sifting through a crowded field of new measurement and data providers, each with overlapping and sometimes partial solutions. It also entails discerning the genuine value behind industry buzzwords like AI (artificial intelligence) while maintaining a cost-effective balance in our selection of partners and vendors. As our clients now require a blend of brand and performance marketing strategies, our challenge is not just to adapt, but to do so in a way that brings cohesive value.


Lee: It is all about attribution. When we are buying linear, we know that the halo to digital, Amazon, influencers, and other channels will be affected in a positive way. In both digital and traditional media, capturing of brand vs. non-brand is highly competitive and has unique search and delivery methodology. Couple this with general vs. DR media buying/selling while decisions are made based on the price of the media rates, rather than delivery of market segmentation, and success can be compromised.

Lyons: This is a great question, and it is one we face very often. We take the approach that the most important person in this equation — the consumer — doesn’t see this line. The question of brand versus selling is a "Sophie’s Choice" marketers often put themselves in for no reason. We think it is not only feasible but, in fact, optimal to grow the brand through the sale of the product. When sales build brand equity, the client is truly in a win-win situation.


The key to success in this equation is to have the proper measurement solution in place to measure both outcomes simultaneously. The final point on this question, and it may be the most important element, is to have a winning suite of creative assets to accomplish both goals. This may seem obvious, but I cannot underscore how important it is to a winning strategy. Nothing else matters if you do not get this part right.


Marshall: We find it’s most important to set the primary goal right out of the gate. A brand may say they want to "make a splash," "reach new audiences," or "build awareness." But upon further discussion, you learn that the CFO will darken their doorway immediately upon launching a campaign to understand sales impact. Knowing this allows us to design a media and measurement strategy that focuses on goals and performance KPIs while still reading traditional audience delivery as a secondary goal.


Morin: We have been preparing for years to have more holistic conversations that make use of our entire portfolio and serve all levels of the sales funnel. Understanding that, tactically, different pools of inventory can fill different needs, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be part of the same conversation. The challenge with historically performance-driven marketers that are now incorporating more brand marketing is in the wide range of patience they are willing to exhibit to have these longer-lead tactics have an impact, and the challenge with historical brand marketers diving deeper into a performance approach is how they balance efficiency versus efficacy. Some metrics they are used to seeing will lead to bias in certain areas, but those areas are not always what are most effective in driving their optimal business results.


Radzik: The biggest challenge for us is the speed with which our marketplace will change and adopt our new metrics and methodologies. Let’s be honest: our marketplace can be slow to accept new emerging technologies or methods. For 30-plus years, we partnered with the majority of performance-based agencies/brands for traditional linear TV, but we now have many additional platforms and consumption methods that are processed real-time using advanced data science that we believe can have a major impact on the success of our partners campaigns and the maneuvering through this rapidly changing landscape.


Tiberia: The lack of open standards for data sharing continues to be the biggest challenge. Love or hate TV, it is open and accountable. Digital advertising isn’t. There is no path for small and mid-sized advertisers to gain access to most detailed serving data from many streaming services and walled-garden digital platforms. Based on Google’s most recent issues on YouTube, with where content was being delivered, even the largest digital ad solutions can live in a gray area when it comes to transparency. Without impression-level data, it’s very difficult to provide attribution and cross-screen measurement solutions.

If you could only choose one performance media outlet to use over the next three years, which one and why?

Gina Pomponi, president & COO, Bluewater: I feel like this is a loaded question since no one can truly predict the future. As direct marketers, we know to follow what the data tells us. Currently, the best performance media outlet to reach scale is television. Notice that I’m intentionally not delineating between linear TV and streaming.

In 2023, linear TV is alive and well and continues to be a strong response generation vehicle for adults 35 and older — and the strongest for reaching adults 50 and up. However, the trend toward streaming continues to grow across all demographics. The challenge stems from the overwhelming number of streaming outlets and channels, causing a substantial fragmentation of viewership. This fragmentation poses a considerable hurdle for direct marketers, as it becomes increasingly challenging to reach a responsive audience in a cost-effective manner.

There is a clear need for someone to consolidate these diverse streaming options into bundled offerings, simplifying the experience for marketers and consumers alike. I predict someone will step up within the next the years to offer all streaming options/content through one provider. A "Stream 360" model is going to become the norm.

Chase: Next three years: linear will still be the primary place for performance media. Next 10 years: CTV.

Helgesen: Even as a TV-centric performance agency, we would never commit to a single media outlet, especially in today’s landscape where consumer behavior is increasingly fragmented. The shift to an omnichannel world means that performance is optimized when we engage audiences across multiple platforms, from traditional TV to streaming services and digital channels. Relying on a single outlet would not only limit our reach but also miss the opportunity to capture consumer attention at various touchpoints, which is crucial for maximizing ROI in a complex and ever-changing media environment.

Kluger:  Based on its versatility to be effective against both awareness and lead-gen goals, online video (OLV) would be the media outlet we would choose to use over the next three years.

Creatively, through sight and sound, OLV has the power to engage consumers, reinforce a brand’s message, showcase products, and use narrative to tell a story through various unit lengths. OLV has massive reach given its broad distribution across social platforms and websites on both mobile and desktop and can cost-efficiently deliver a volume of impressions. The channel also offers robust targeting, from demo and geo to interests and behaviors and can be measured from upper-funnel engagement metrics down to click-throughs, sales, and revenue.

While online video is already an effective media outlet today, we expect it to become even more powerful over the next three years through technological advancements.

Lee: Influencers! As social media platforms become the new online retail superstores, influencers will create word-ofmouth and referral-based purchase power.

Lyons: Video, but I do not want to commit to the specific distribution method because I think that is a rapidly evolving space. Video advertising (sight, sound, and motion) is still the most valuable asset in a client’s toolbox and provides unsurpassed scale and profitability when executed correctly.

Marshall:  We see that video — with the power of sight and sound — can demonstrate a product or service’s benefit in an effective way. Using a blend of linear and streaming allows for a brand to reach new audiences, while measuring and optimizing based on impact on sales.

Radzik: I don’t believe there is just one today yet that can truly accurately meet all the requirements. Most performance-based agencies are using or testing multiple measurement methods (for linear, CTV, web, mobile, etc.). I do know that it all needs to be conducted in a fully transparent manner, be based on real-time, audit-quality data, and leverage advanced data sciences that can quickly adapt to and implement emerging media measurement.

Witelson: TV. Our extensive performance analysis over the years consistently identifies TV as the top performer among various media outlets. Its enduring effectiveness and broad reach make it our preferred choice. If you’ve never advertised on TV before, consider making your initial investment in one market, testing, learning, and then expanding from there. This approach will enable better measurements, especially if you’re working with smaller budgets.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from PDMI members is the inability to accurately measure how CTV is working with the rest of a campaign. What can performance marketers expect from CTV in the next 2-3 years, and how can its measurability be simplified?

Bertodatti: CTV is an evolving term that is coming to mean anything that a publisher puts out there that ends up on "big glass" — whether it is CTV, FEP, OTT, VOD, DAI, MVPD, VMVPD, etc. There is a need for agencies and clients to recognize that consumers of their products are viewing content on the largest screens in their residences but are coming from other places that may not have the best return path data — therefore it’s considered "unusable" by some performance agencies and clients. Simplicity in the space will come when clients/agencies start to activate with partners across all these end points and are able to see a commingled report on traditional metrics and performance metrics.

Brombach: CTV’s reach is larger than cable, and video consumption continues to point toward streaming. That said, it’s critical to integrate deterministic CTV "match-back" attribution into a reliable multitouch attribution ecosystem.

Catterson: The industry is in a very inventive and innovative period right now. As the media landscape continues to see more fragmentation, new solutions in the market are helping to make it easier for brands to find and optimize against their audiences no matter where they’re viewing content. It’s still a bit messy and confusing, but it’s getting better every day. We believe the focus should be on finding your audience wherever they are, serving the right message in the right environment to that audience, and then measuring and optimizing against performance.

As an industry, our collective aim is truer than ever. And, in two to three years, we’ll look back on this period as a pivotal turning point in the evolution of the TV advertising ecosystem.

Chase: Unfortunately, the ever-increasing number of solutions that block tracking to protect privacy will not make this easier. One solution that we’re seeing more often is the use of QR codes in commercials to track sessions more accurately. These can have very specific UTM parameters embedded in them that can help tracking, and consumers are more accustomed to using them now. There will be new tools soon that help identify how consumers enter the sales funnel, but this is all still an emerging area.

Gray: Given these significant challenges, having a unified measurement solution has never been more critical. Today’s deterministic offerings make it possible to understand when an ad hits linear or CTV, along with instant measurement of impressions mapped to the exposed audience’s precise demographic makeup. It has become routine to then connect this data to subsequent conversions such as web visits, app downloads, sales, offline conversions, and more. It’s true closed-loop attribution that’s not historically available to TV marketers.

Today, advertisers and agencies can have highly actionable campaign results displayed in real time, in a single comprehensive dashboard that’s available to the entire marketing team. This allows one to take quick and immediate action to improve return on advertising spend, even when the campaign is still in flight. All of this is possible today thanks to smart TVs, smart connected devices, granular data, and deterministic methodologies, which have been developed by leading industry providers.

Kluger: While CTV as a media tactic is relatively new, as marketers, we shouldn’t abandon the measurement tactics used to prove out the value of the media channels that have come before it. CTV should be evaluated through a "whenin" analysis designed to quantify the incremental conversions generated when CTV is added to a brand’s media mix.

Like any upper funnel tactic, CTV’s value will be in its ability to lift sales, through convergence, across all paid and organic channels vs. expecting a positive ROAS on directly attributed orders. Measurement teams should set up "exposed" and "holdout" groups prior to a campaign launch, either through a traditional geographic split or by separating eligible programmatic target audiences into two distinct groups at the time of the bid.

Provided that external influencers are consistent across the two groups, and variables controlled incrementally, a brand’s baseline orders can be attributed to the exposure to CTV. Return-on-ad-spend should be derived by calculating the incremental revenue generated divided by the cost of the CTV media.

Lee: CTV media agencies need to streamline their reporting based on geos, publishers, and media metrics. The data and sales need to reflect a budget that is carefully adhered to, based on KPIs and formulas reflecting CPA and CPL. Pivots need to be made judiciously, if not daily, if the needle is to be moved.

According to Statista research (2022), CTV completion rate as an industry benchmark was 95%. What needs to happen to reach these goals moving forward: length of creative (:30 vs.60); a clear plan for retargeting; seasonality in the media ecosystem (politics, healthcare, sports); and integration with paid social.

Lyons: This is a common adage that I have heard repeatable over time, and I am still confused as to why this is still a question. The shiny new object is another powerful tool in the marketer’s belt. It is the preferred way consumers enjoy FEP content and get introduced to awesome brands.

Impression-based measurement or DAR ratings are an antiquated approach measurement. The tools and the tech exist to measure CTV alongside every other marketing channel in the mix. Clients who are struggling with this question should find a new partner who will invest in tech and ultimately their brands.

The true differentiator is finding a partner who understands the interactions of different channels and creatives and creates a customized strategy for brands to maximize their outcomes across each KPI that drives their business.

Marshall: While measuring CTV in a silo is simple and accurate today through partners like Innovid, it’s less clear cut on how it’s playing with other marketing channels and what the real incrementality is. Sometimes more traditional measurement strategies like market-level pre- and post-test trendlines in things like branded search traffic or website sales can solve for that, so we may see old-school approaches adapted to CTV more readily in the coming years.

It’s important to remember that these challenges aren’t unique to CTV. Demonstrating a channel’s true value has always been an ongoing battle — just think about how many digital media attribution models there are even when everything can be tracked to a T — so CTV measurement will ultimately evolve to reflect the nuance of the channel: a blend of traditional and digital, a mix of brand and performance.

Morin: It won’t be a simple flip of a switch, but through industry collaboration, and the strides being made in identity resolution, CTV will continue to gain influence in how marketers spend their video budgets. The answer is not to continue to build more, and taller, walled gardens, but to make use of technological advancements to have data inputs from multiple sources inform and enrich one another in a privacy-compliant way that will allow for greater targeting, greater measurement, and ultimately, greater performance across all video investment — with CTV very much at the heart of that. Another key expectation is the use of scaled, first-party data to power these measurement solutions, which will greatly improve CTV measurement. This is why so many publishers have committed to sharing their first-party digital data with measurement companies through the Joint Industry Committee (JIC).

Radzik: Ironically, while responding to this, a client partner called me about CTV and measurement of it, as more and more of their media is moving to CTV. With linear TV audience time dipping under 50 percent for the first time (and the majority of that lost to CTV), the No. 1 question I am asked by clients is how they can properly measure it.

They are asking how they can know where their CTV media is airing in real time, and how can they precisely activate or optimize on CTV as part of their cross-media campaigns. Over the next two-to-three years, there will be an option to verify where and when CTV (and other emerging media) media is airing, through the use of watermarking, across media. Watermarking will be the first step to fuel existing and new optimization and attribution techniques to determine what is driving sales across platform in a real-time, automated manner.


Tiberia: I think advertisers have an unrealistic expectation of CTV. They expect it to behave and measure like linear TV, and it just doesn’t. The single impression nature of the medium causes serving to be more fragmented. It’s just as easy as it is to serve one person way too much frequency as it to serve someone a frequency of 1.

Right now, you can measure CTV, but it’s just not as directly measurable as linear or other digital platforms. Based on the current tech landscape, the biggest hope for CTV is that data clean rooms become based on an agreed upon standard and become affordable. It’s too early to really know if this tech is going to be able to deliver on the hype and provide actionable data. If it does, it could be a game changer for both cross-media measurement and attribution.

Witelson: We are addressing this challenge head-on. After years of development, there is a methodology that does just that, all while safeguarding user privacy and without the use of trackers. This approach leverages advanced machine learning and first-party data, enabling precise measurement and optimization of CTV advertising within the broader campaign context while respecting privacy. This idea simplifies CTV measurability but also prioritizes data privacy, providing advertisers with valuable insights to maximize their campaign impact.


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