VideoAmp Acquires Elsy To Automate TV Measurement

VideoAmp, which has been signing alternative measurement deals left and right, is adding to its stack in the lead-up to this year’s upfronts.

On Tuesday, VideoAmp announced its acquisition of Elsy, an analytics platform founded in 2015 that helps advertisers optimize their media investments tied to business outcomes.

VideoAmp declined to share the deal price.

With technology focused on cross-screen TV measurement and attribution, VideoAmp has been riding a wave of broadcaster discontent with Nielsen, but clients are looking for more than just a different currency.

At a March meeting to talk about the company’s progress with its biggest clients, a group VideoAmp refers to as its Currency Advisory Council, the consensus was VideoAmp needed to move faster.

“The biggest [piece] of feedback was that our methodology was too manual,” VideoAmp CEO Ross McCray told AdExchanger.

It was taking too long for clients, especially on the buy side, to test and operationalize different metrics throughout the purchase funnel with their partners and, from there, plan media campaigns accordingly, McCray said.

The need to centralize solutions and automate campaign planning is only becoming more acute in an increasingly fragmented media ecosystem. Measuring deduplicated reach and outcome-focused metrics, such as brand lift and sales, is particularly challenging for marketers.

Part of the rationale for buying Elsy is that it claims to be “measurement agnostic” and able to optimize across all media sources.

“We’ve integrated audience metrics and outcome measurements from many different partners over the years that allow us to deploy our solutions across a [wide variety] of verticals,” said Laurent Colard, CEO and co-founder of Elsy.

In other words, Elsy enables its clients to work with multiple partners. It’s not a matter of beating out all other solutions on the market and mastering every metric.

“Measurement in and of itself is very complex and diversified,” Colard said. “But we’ve also heard from clients that the simplicity of a pre-integrated solution is very compelling.”

Going forward, Elsy intends to continue supporting the partners of joint customers and providing functionality for the customers that prefer to “mix and match,” he said.

Currency calls for outcomes

VideoAmp was particularly attracted to Elsy’s ability to forecast on business outcomes and track budgets.

According to McCray, being able to guarantee on outcomes is the difference between providing measurement and serving as a currency. Measurement is just reporting, whereas currency is the guaranteed value marketers are looking to buy against.

“Clients tell me their measurement-only vendors will come in, dump five million columns and rows of data about what happened last year and walk away,” McCray said.

Reporting without an actionable plan is borderline “useless,” he said, and not much more than “nerdy talk about deduplicated reach and frequency.”

Enter outcome forecasts.

Elsy’s business model is built on what it calls “algorithmic media planning.” Its software tracks campaigns from planning through execution with metrics that span the purchase funnel, from reach, frequency and programmatic retargeting to ecommerce conversions and sales, Colard said. Its algorithms then track the campaign’s lifecycle so clients can monitor performance against their plans and optimize their campaigns to get better outcomes.

Before merging with Elsy, VideoAmp “couldn’t forecast what to expect from attribution,” McCray said, or do budget tracking.

Elsy’s software tracks budget allocation throughout a campaign’s lifespan so advertisers can keep a close eye on spend versus performance as it’s happening.

The ability to guarantee outcomes – and budget tracking to back it up – were the “two biggest requests [we received throughout] the manual part of the currency testing from our clients,” McCray said.

“Currency is a nightmare to track manually,” he said. The plan is to have “some material pieces of the workflow” fully integrated by next year, but “a good amount” will be done over the next six months.

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