Many tools of our trade have evolved over time. We still rely on pictures and video to tell stories, but the days of tape and film have largely given way to digital technology. We still use keyboards, but we've evolved from typewriters to computers to phones and tablets.
A similar evolution is taking place when it comes to local media measurement. Cost-per-point and gross ratings points were ideally suited as the currency for decades, and they continue to be of value when looking at broad, national campaigns. But the changing nature of how audiences watch television—on multiple devices, with time-shifting technologies such as DVRs and video on demand—is bringing about a shift in how we think about quantifying effectiveness. When viewed through the prism of more targeted campaigns, it's becoming clear that impressions, and CPMs, will become the new currency on the local level.
It wasn't that long ago that it was fairly easy to find a large concentration of a desired audience based on broad demographic criteria. That's become more challenging as audiences have splintered across dozens of channels. Certainly, there are programs that stand out for their ability to attract huge audiences—AMC
At the same time, the ability to deliver advertising at the sub-DMA level, as Comcast Spotlight
As a result, local audiences for some "long-tail," or niche, networks are potentially being missed. We know, though, that there are valuable consumers watching those networks, and those audiences can be targeted with precision. After all, it doesn't matter whether a prospective customer sees your message on a wildly popular program or one with niche appeal so long as they see the right message at the right time.
Combine those target viewers watching multiple networks in multiple locations, and now you have a more accurate measure of who is actually seeing your message and a basis on which to conduct fair transactions. It offers marketers more opportunities to engage audiences by being able to cast a wider net to reach a critical mass of their ideal customers.
As with any transition, especially one with many moving parts, it will take time for everyone to get on the same page. The good news is that we're already seeing a growing number of agencies adopting impressions as a metric for planning and buying local media. Earlier this year, Comcast
As the industry arrives at a general consensus around valuing impressions across screens and across markets, we expect the pace to accelerate. Ultimately, it will benefit all of us in the media ecosystem and will serve as another example of how our industry continues to keep pace with the evolution of technology and consumer behavior.
About the Author
Kellie Grutko is senior VP-marketing for Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable. One of the highest-ranking women in cable advertising, her responsibilities include advertising, branding, strategic analysis, product marketing, creative services, promotional partnerships, event planning, network relationships, public affairs, social media and the company's website. Kellie has almost two decades of experience in cable advertising and is an active contributor to numerous industry and business organizations. She is a graduate of Women in Cable Telecommunications' Betsy Magness Leadership Institute.
About the Sponsor
Comcast Spotlight is the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, helping local, regional and national advertisers efficiently and effectively reach their ideal audiences. We're leading the industry with advanced technologies and innovative products, and delivering more impressions for marketers on multiple screens.