Digital Conference

Google Creates TV-Like Measurement Metric

The giant is creating its own methodology for an online version of gross rating points.

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One of the threads of logic in digital marketing is that online brand advertising will spike when advertisers and agencies can measure their online buys like they do TV buys through the digital equivalent of gross rating points -- TV's reach-and-frequency metric. In the past year, we've seen Nielsen bring TV-style ratings to the web and ComScore create a metric, the vGRP.

On Wednesday, digital-advertising goliath Google will announce that it's entering the fray with a metric called Active GRP. It's also introducing Active View, its own take on the "viewable impression."

Neal Mohan
Neal Mohan

"The objective is [to] make it easier for more and more brand dollars to come online," said Neal Mohan, Google's VP-display advertising. "One of the biggest opportunities to crack the nut as it relates to brand advertising is in the area of measurement."

Unlike digital-media companies, such as AOL, that are partnering with measurement firms to provide advertisers with metrics, Google is going solo an extent, creating its own methodology for an online GRP based on a mix of aggregated panel data and anonymized user data.

Mr. Mohan was diplomatic when asked why Google chose to forge its own path. "From our perspective, the more efforts there are, the better it is for the overall industry," he said.

Google said it is running a pilot with its DoubleClick for Advertisers customers. It will start with the traditional demographic segments, age and gender, with plans to introduce others over time. It's submitting the methodology used for Active GRP to the Media Rating Council for accreditation.

Active View will use the Interactive Advertising Bureau definition of "viewable": that at least 50% of an ad is viewable on the screen for at least one second. In theory, this means that advertisers can choose to pay only for ads that online viewers have the opportunity to see. Active View will initially be available only on the Google Display Network but will eventually roll out to DoubleClick so that advertisers can use it on all buys. Google said it will work with the IAB to standardize the approach.

Those are key points, because the last thing advertisers or agencies want is more of the existing problem: different measurements for different buys.

"I applaud Google in its efforts to try to drive common currency and speak the same language across media types," said John Nitti, president-activation at Zenith Optimedia. "However, what I don't want, or support, is a situation where we have Google-specific definitions or metrics that cannot be deployed across entire campaigns."

Mr. Mohan said Google's new metrics apply to all types of online ads: traditional display, video and mobile.

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