NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Good news for online video: Mindshare, a unit of WPP's giant media buying operation GroupM, is embracing a new metric that could speed the migration of TV advertising dollars to the web.
The agency is throwing its weight behind a translation of TV's gross ratings point to online video developed with video ad network YuMe, meaning Mindshare clients such as Unilever and Ford will start buying online video on a gross-ratings-point basis, the same way they buy TV.
Agencies have for some time looked for a way to measure online video in terms of gross ratings points (GRPs), or the sum of the reach of a campaign times the frequency that the target audience was exposed to an ad.
Major TV marketers have bought TV campaigns on a GRP basis for decades as they buy vast swaths of the country in certain demographics, and have years of experience in using that data to evaluate what the return on a TV campaign will be, say, on the sale of tubes of toothpaste in stores.
Would seem simple enough
On the face of it, converting online metrics such as "views" and "unique visitors" to a GRP, a measure of the reach and frequency of a campaign among U.S. households, would seem to be a fairly simple proposition.
But converting to a web audience, which is smaller and more splintered than TV, is difficult. A TV campaign, for example, would achieve a rating in one TV broadcast; online, the equivalent reach and frequency may be achieved over weeks or months.
Having an online equivalent -- an iGRP, if you will -- allows marketers to compare the effectiveness of TV and broadband on an apples-to-apples basis, and theoretically spread TV dollars online for the same campaign. Then, the buy becomes video wherever it happens to be, rather than just "online" or "TV."
YuMe isn't the only video ad network attempting to dip its toe into the $70 billion TV market by using TV metrics. In February, Tremor Media started reporting their own GRP equivalent for online video campaigns using ComScore demographic data, and BBE is working on its own GRP translation with Publicis Groupe unit Starcom Mediavest.
In embracing the new standard, Mindshare advertisers will have the option of buying web video on the same metric, and it's likely that Mindshare's sibling agencies within Group M, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Maxus, will follow suit.
"As viewing online viewing continues to grow, we need to have a clear understanding with the partners we work with on how to evaluate frequency models on broadband vs. TV," said Cary Tilds, senior VP-digital strategy at Mindshare.
Since YuMe specializes in placing video ads in premium video, including TV shows on the web, a GRP metric will allow an advertiser to buy both TV and online for the same campaign on the same standard. An episode of "Heroes" on Monday night on NBC, for example, might have 7 million people watching and reach a certain percentage of viewers aged 18-49. An equivalent GRP could be achieved online but it might take buying audiences across many shows over time.
"We can now start to say, that the same million dollars you spent for the TV buy, you can have to run it for a month on these sites and you will get the equivalent," said YuMe President Jayant Kadambi.