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Google’s launch of a planning tool that tracks consumer habits across online and TV media shows the race to establish a universal, standardised metric for online video is far from over.

The search giant is funding a multi-million-pound planning tool aimed at helping brands understand consumer behaviour across TV and online media (nma.co.uk 7 July 2011).

This will be done via single-source data – meaning the viewing TV and online habits of the same set of people will be tracked – as opposed to fusing together two sets of data, which is more like the model BARB and UKOM use.

However, the concept of a “universal metric” for online video measurement has become clouded by the volume of similar planning tools either already in existence or in the process of being developed. The whole point of a standard metric is that it should simplify and clarify how and when advertisers should use online video, in turn increasing spend, but the reality is that the notion is becoming overcrowded and, therefore, confused.

Many believed the much-anticipated launch in May of UKOM and Nielsen’s first industry-backed online video metric VideoCensus would be the final piece in the puzzle (Cover story, nma 19 May 2011). But its slow entrance to the market has meant that many media planners have already launched their own equivalent planning tools and measurements to meet the demand from their clients.

For example, last year, media agency Universal McCann launched its own video-on-demand planning tool aimed at bridging the gap between TV and VOD campaigns, which combined its own VOD data with existing BARB data. It even secured Microsoft as its first client to test it (nma 30 September 2011). 

Meanwhile, Nielsen rival Comscore has also rolled out updates to its own video-on-demand metric, the latest iteration of which, Video Metrix 2.0, separates the measurement of video content from video ads – something the UKOM metric doesn’t do (nma 13 January 2011).

BARB has also made some progress with its own web-TV viewing meter, which it’s to roll out in 100 of its panel homes (nma.co.uk 30 June 2011).

With all the various guises of metrics and planning tools, the term “standardised” is becoming opaque – and with Google now on its tail, UKOM needs to work even harder to accelerate the development of its methodology or it may find it loses out to equally sophisticated tools that have beaten it to market.    

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Published 14 July, 2011 by NMA Staff

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