Samba TV On Why Measurement’s Future Is All About Incremental Reach And Guaranteed Outcomes

On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

TV measurement providers in the streaming era have quite a lot of boxes to check: frequency, reach, audience verification, data collection.

But in Samba TV’s view, nothing matters without the ability to achieve and measure incremental reach.

The vast majority (97%) of all linear TV ad impressions in Q4 were shown over and over again to the same 55% of US viewers, according to research conducted by Samba using ACR technology.

And that’s a big waste, said Samba’s CEO Ashwin Navin.

Marketers are missing out because the current CPM model “doesn’t deduplicate across screens,” Navin said.

A repeat impression will be counted as having reached two different individuals, even when that isn’t the case.

Navin spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: How does Samba approach measurement?

ASHWIN NAVIN: We started working on measurement in 2014, when we saw smart TV data becoming a “source of truth” to understand how cross-platform streaming consumption is changing.

But eight years ago, connected TV was still very much in its infancy, and using CTV data for advertising and measurement was quite controversial. So we started by building up a substantial amount of first-party data that not only covered traditional TV but gave us a unique, proprietary view into streaming TV.

Now that the industry is seeing less and less reach from traditional TV, the natural response for marketers is to move to streaming apps. There’s a significant overlap in that migration, which we can measure.

What are Samba’s measurement solutions?

We produced a currency-grade metric called TRF – it stands for true frequency and reach – which Disney is now making available to clients who buy inventory on its channels. The idea is deduplicating the reach of traditional TV campaigns and streaming TV campaigns to understand what’s unique about each and how they overlap.

We also have a currency called iCPM [incremental CPM] that guarantees advertisers they’ll reach an incremental household.

How is Samba working with Disney?

Earlier this month, Disney announced that it’s going to offer our TRF measurement solution to its advertisers.

But our relationship with Disney actually began with outcome-based measurement over five years ago. Disney wanted to measure the effects of its ads on fans purchasing theme park tickets and coming into theaters.

Conversions are a really hard thing to measure because linear TV commercials run mostly offline and CTV ads often lead to behavior that happens on another device like mobile or desktop. So we built a broadcast conversion rate to measure any TV campaign by the effect or outcome it drives for the client on another screen.

Disney vetted our methodology and then introduced us to the media side of the company to try and build this infrastructure for its ad sales.

How does the iCPM currency tie into the TRF solution?

TRF is our measurement methodology, and iCPM is a guarantee.

With iCPM, we’re trying to fix a foundational problem the industry is still facing. There are still billions of dollars running on traditional, CPM-based measurement, which doesn’t deduplicate across screens. CPM methodology actually works in the opposite direction – it counts a repeat impression as reaching two individuals.

But marketers who transact on iCPM only pay for incremental impressions, which gives advertisers peace of mind that they aren’t paying twice for the same impression.

Is Disney also adopting Samba’s iCPM currency?

That’s up to Disney and its clients. Disney also works with Nielsen and Comscore because the idea is to give clients choice, which requires multiple currencies for advertisers to choose from.

How do Samba’s measurement solutions work with those of other providers? 

The industry won’t be locked into one measurement currency in the future. Clients need the flexibility to choose between more upper-funnel reach metrics, including brand lift, and lower-funnel outcome-based measurement as a currency. We want to give clients that flexibility.

Disney is a great partner because it shares that vision. In fact, Disney actually asked us to help it launch with other measurement companies.

Where does Samba draw the line between first- and third-party data? 

We primarily use our first-party data. We have 46 million addressable devices in our global footprint. But we also augment that base with licensed set-top-box data to make sure we’re covering all corners of the market.

You can’t create a good currency with other people’s data. Third-party data can come and go. A company needs to have its own first-party data at its core.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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