YouTube tapped Comscore for a new measurement program that is meant to give connected TV advertising buyers a clearer picture of the platform. The new program comes just as some media buyers and major brands expressed reservations about the sophistication of YouTube’s ability to help them control the reach and frequency of their ads in CTV.
On Monday, Comscore announced it would integrate its ratings system with YouTube, which helps advertisers “understand combined co-viewing for YouTube and YouTube TV across OTT/CTV as well as incremental reach to their linear TV buys,” Comscore said.
The program is part of Comscore Campaign Ratings measurement, which is meant to tell advertisers how many viewers they reached across connected TV apps and devices. Advertisers use these ratings to understand issues like “co-viewing,” which is when more than one person views an ad when multiple viewers are watching the same program in the same room. The ratings also help with “deduplication”—understanding whether brands served the same commercial to the same consumer on different apps or channels. The ratings also help analyze “incremental reach,” which is how often a commercial is shown to someone outside of broadcast or cable TV.
“The inclusion of co-viewing in this new integration will allow advertisers to understand the full scale of the audience they're able to reach through YouTube CTV campaigns," Debbie Weinstein, YouTube’s VP of global solutions, said in the announcement.
Last week, Ad Age reported that CTV advertisers are concerned about YouTube’s measurement programs to date. Some advertisers criticized how well YouTube stacked up to rivals like The Trade Desk and Roku, as far as CTV capabilities like controlling for duplication and incremental reach.
Advertisers are looking for measurement consistency that can be applied across all the services in CTV and linear TV. Comscore has been working on such cross-platform measurement, as has Nielsen. YouTube is integrating with Nielsen, as well, in phases. This year, YouTube introduced Nielsen ratings into YouTube TV, its subscription TV service, which is similar to a monthly cable package. Later this year, YouTube is expected to apply Nielsen ratings to the rest of YouTube.
Comscore's campaign ratings program launced in 2018, and it works with AT&T TV, Sling and Hulu. Those are virtual multichannel programming disrtibutors, but they don't represent the entire CTV and over-the-top TV landscape. Fragmentation in CTV is one of the reasons it has been difficult for advertisers to apply a cross-platform framework to measurement. YouTube competes with Roku, Amazon Fire TV and other TV networks and CTV app developers for the growing share of TV dollars shifting to streaming TV.
YouTube is a force in online video advertising, generating $7 billion in the second quarter, which was up 84% year over year. YouTube reaches 120 million viewers a month on TV sets in living rooms, which is why it is trying to become more like a CTV player.
“Our clients are placing a large portion of their advertising spend with YouTube, and they need a holistic view of how that spend is performing relative to the entire media mix,” Comscore CEO Bill Livek said in the announcement.