While the advertising industry has been able to measure and perform attribution for decades, connected TVs are bringing new data to the TV analyses with automatic content recognition technology, or ACR, which enables the collection of new data as well as new vendors with closer to real-time attribution models. As automatic content recognition adds to panel-based measurement, Kagan expects that worldwide vendor revenue from TV measurement and attribution will grow 33.2% to reach $4.40 billion in 2024 up from $3.31 billion in 2019.
While panel measurement has been traditional in TV advertising, the future is likely to be a combination of panels and census-level ACR data that is now being made available. The newer vendors often use census-level data instead of the panels used by traditional vendors.
The viewing data gathered via ACR, either audio or video, is matched to the content being viewed against a database of content. Video ACR matches the images on the screen while audio ACR matches the audio stream of the content. While some ACR solutions are hybrid and do both, the technology must be embedded into the connected TV, or CTV. The benefit to ACR is it also captures what is being streamed via the TV so measurement and attribution can also take place in CTV advertising.
The ability to measure and perform attribution on linear TV and CTV together is a great pain point in the ad industry today. Issues with measurement are often seen as reasons that more ad spend has not moved over to OTT or CTV. On the buy-side, advertisers and their agencies need to know if their ad spend had the desired de-duplicated reach and frequency in serving their ads as well as the desired business outcome. Over-delivering an ad is a waste of money. The sell-side content publishers and distributors need to know their audiences to better package and sell their inventory as well as being able to sell on audience guarantees and guaranteed outcomes.
Knowing an ad was viewed is no longer enough as advertisers want to know if the ad resulted in action or a lift in awareness. They have that capability with digital advertising and want the same for their TV advertising. Multi-touch attribution helps an advertiser understand which pieces of its advertising are most effectively driving the desired outcome, whether that is a store visit or website purchase or another outcome. Besides the fragmentation in the OTT industry, there are multiple challenges to linear TV and OTT measurement and attribution including the ways of counting the ad impressions.