Adobe And ComScore Strike A Video And Digital Ad Measurement Alliance

comscoreComScore’s got a memo for Nielsen: It’s moving into cross-platform video and audience measurement – big time.

Just days after comScore inked a multiyear measurement deal with Viacom, the first since its merger with Rentrak, it struck a strategic partnership with Adobe, the two companies revealed on Tuesday at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas.

There are two big implications. First, comScore will be able to port Adobe Certified Metrics – digital census data powered by Adobe Analytics – into its cross media, audience and advertising product suites for the first time.

Essentially, this promises more uniformity in measurement based on census-level data – not proxies or panels.

Second, Adobe’s video tools benefit from a new integration to comScore’s digital audience and demographic data, which boosts segments by going beyond age and gender so a marketer or TV publisher, for example, can have a clearer window into ad and content engagement.

The deal seems especially rosy for comScore, which will also get access to more video metrics via Adobe’s multiscreen TV platform, Adobe Primetime, including video starts and stops and average watch times.

It’s important to note that Adobe cooked up a similar collaboration with Nielsen in 2014, when it integrated Adobe Analytics and Primetime to Nielsen’s digital audience measurement tools.

“The market has had a need for detailed data around video viewing across devices that can be translated into a ratings currency to drive advertising and monetization,” said Greg Ireland, research director for multiscreen video at IDC.

Vendors such as Adobe, he predicted, will play a key part in bringing tech expertise around audience measurement and monetization to incumbent measurers as video experiences evolve.

As comScore onboards more TV network customers like Viacom, which comScore CEO Serge Matta claims is only one in a string of many, cross-platform video  is top of mind for the measurement company. 

Matta and Jeremy Helfand, VP of Adobe Primetime, spoke with AdExchanger about what their new partnership means for the broader ecosystem.

AdExchanger: In what ways is this deal the same or different than your work with Nielsen?

JEREMY HELFAND: We’re fully committed to our Nielsen partnership and have a number of joint customers using the solution we discussed last year. Nielsen would be in a better position to discuss how they’re driving toward cross-platform measurement and currency themselves for digital content ratings products, but with comScore, the point is to provide a more complete and consistent view for how audiences are engaging with content and ads. While both companies are focused on how do you solve for the need for better cross-platform measurement, I think they’re addressing it in different ways. We felt this was an important development to drive the marketplace forward.

What’s the top benefit for comScore?

SERGE MATTA: We have a ton of digital data assets already. Our heritage has obviously been digital from day one, and now with our merger with Rentrak, it’s all cross platform. It’s not what we want to do or Adobe wants to do, at the end of the day, it’s what the clients and industry need, and that’s [to] bring cross-platform measurement at scale and measure it precisely everywhere on a global basis.

Having a partner like Adobe where their reach is massive, especially in terms of Adobe Analytics, is necessary because clients want scale. They want a census-based view instead of just panel-based, and when a partner like Adobe has that data, rather than asking clients to go tag this video player or that mobile app and put engineering efforts behind their own integration projects, they’ve already done it for internal measurement leveraging Adobe Analytics. That’s where the immediate benefit to the client is.

How does the deal affect the data? Is it bidirectional now?

JH: The data that has been enriched by comScore can make a round trip and come back into the marketing cloud (our DMP Audience Manager) and can be used for activation. It could be for personalization for more relevant advertising or for personalizing the television experience itself through our over-the-top platform. Clients now are going to have more incremental value beyond what they already received from the use of our metrics. Not only for business insight to help run the business, but that data can now be ported to a ratings partner like comScore and be used for advertising monetization. That’s a huge incremental opportunity.

Are you seeing more TV use cases for Audience Manager?

JH: We’ve started to bring these technologies together in an integrated platform. Out of the box, Audience Manager and video analytics are embedded within Primetime. So you implement one SDK and get all these capabilities. The conversations we’re having with programmers and pay TV providers like NBC, Comcast, DirecTV, etc., is how do I best understand who these audiences are, whether it’s a marketing use case, personalization/experience or advertising, and how do I activate them. This is a new thing for programmers and content providers because they have to think more like retailers. Even Netflix and Hulu have challenges with churn, and that’s why we’re really excited about this.

Does a comScore client have to use Audience Manager to access and benefit from Adobe’s certified metrics?

SM: We’re committed as a third party to provide our digital, TV and cross-platform data into a leading data management platform so that clients can activate that data and leverage it. ComScore is not in the business of owning a data management platform. We are leveraging the Adobe Audience Manager in this instance, but we want to remain independent and open.

We felt having a relationship where we can affect very granular segments for very specific activations was important. We can [go beyond demos and] say, “Men who are 18 to 34 who watched Homeland who bought recently an Audi Q7 and are going to vote for Donald Trump.” Now you have that segment of the population you can actually go after. It provides a lot more accuracy in activation for the advertiser and broadcaster across the board.

Does the Viacom deal prelude more of its kind for comScore?

SM: There are going to be several. These things take time. They’re bigger deals. The market is definitely hungry and it’s going to accelerate more of these deals happening.

One of the biggest inhibitors to date has been ensuring we had … data assets on a census basis to ensure our measurement was accurate. The market welcomed our merger with Rentrak a lot. Now they’re putting their dollars behind their support.


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