The timing is right, and really, overdue, for impression-based media planning on a local level. The foundations and data necessary to make the shift from ratings-based planning to impression-based are phasing in across the various Nielsen market types on a local DMA (designated market area) level.

What is Impression-based Planning?

Quite simply, impression-based planning is using the actual projected number of impressions a campaign will deliver, typically noted as (000). Digital media, such as display, pre-roll, and social ads have been measured this way since the inception of those media types. However, it has been a bit of a longer road for legacy media, such as broadcast and cable measurement, to pivot from their longstanding ratings-based measurement.

Why Now?

Streaming video continues to accelerate growth and commands a seat at the table in any media plan that includes video. A recent study by the Leichtman Research Group indicated some powerful stats in the ever-growing streaming video landscape.

  • 82% of U.S. TV households have a CTV (connected TV) device
  • 60% of adults watch video via a CTV device once per week
  • 39% of all adults watch video daily via a CTV device

When you account for the robust amount of streaming consumption and the ability to target this universe via behavioral, geographic, and other targets, you are creating a custom universe for this deployment. This change in universe size within the same DMA already shakes the foundation of comparing ratings-points between broadcast, cable and streaming video.

Nielsen, who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on television measurement, is in the final stages of phasing in Broadband Only (BBO) households into all local DMA measurement. Taking a step back, Broadband Only (BB0) homes are homes with at least one TV set able to deliver streaming video from an internet source, with no TV sets able to receive a channel from a traditional cable, satellite or over-the-air source. The inclusion of these homes will increase local market sizes approximately 20 percent.

As these homes are added to the sample the number of impressions a campaign delivers will increase, however, in many cases the overall ratings for broadcast programming will decline. What this means for advertisers, if you continue to plan your campaigns on a rating points basis, it will be more expensive to achieve the same ratings as the prior year due to this new measurement.

The major players in the video selling space are also moving towards impression-based. In a June statement Debra OConnell, president of networks at Disney Media & Entertainment at the Walt Disney Company noted, “Using an impressions-based currency to evaluate, sell and buy local broadcast video enables us to offer our advertisers full visibility into local audiences and extends the overall reach of their messaging across platforms. The ABC Owned Television Stations fully support the adoption of impressions as the currency for local broadcast TV.” With this statement, they join NBCUniversal who previously issued a similar statement earlier in the year.

Why is the Move to Impression-based Planning Important?

The importance of shifting your video campaigns to impression extends beyond just that medium. Making this shift will allow you to evaluate cross-platform media on a consistent basis of impressions (000), allowing paid media deliveries to be easily communicated to stakeholders within your organization. It also allows for a nimbler shift of cross-platform media impressions as the campaign optimizes based on key performance indicators.

About Us

Universal Media-Analytics (UMI) was founded in 1986 by three advertising professionals, creating one of the largest and fastest-growing locally based independent media agencies, specializing in strategic planning, research and media buying.

About the author : Andy Longenberger