May 03 2021
Thought Leadership

Virtual Data Bites, Volume 1

A Mission to Improve Measurability

The ABC’s of ad tech? Always Be Changing. In our first installment of Virtual Data Bites, a VideoAmp thought leadership series, we explore what’s changing and what the impacts on our clients are, arming them with the education they need to make more informed decisions.

Independent of the rapid industry changes brought about by the pandemic, the proliferation of devices per household has made it increasingly difficult for advertisers to know who has seen an ad impression, let alone reach those individuals effectively. What we can directly attribute to 2020 is the rise in cord cutters, cord nevers, and a new phenomenon called cord shavers (consumers who have cut back on cable subscriptions to invest in streaming). As all of these trends continue to accelerate into 2021, it’s safe to say the way we measure and buy media will never go back to the old “normal”. So, what has changed and how can advertisers be better prepared?

Regulation Changes

Keeping up with the rapid changes in privacy and regulations can be a daunting task. In 2020, advertisers faced a slew of announcements challenging the way we view and respond to consumer privacy:

  • In 2020, Google announced the slow burn of the third party cookie (we’ve known for some time that cookies were problematic, but the announcement made it real). Interested in learning VideoAmp’s take on what this means for the industry? Check out our blog post, “Emptying The Cookie Jar”. 
  • CCPA officially went into effect in January 2020. Known as the “most comprehensive privacy law in the US”, it acted as our first major piece of regulation in the US that gave Californians an arsenal of tools to protect their data online. 
  • In June, Apple announced the crippling of IDFA, moving from an opt-out model (where users actively needed to elect out of targeting), to an opt-in model (where users would be asked if they wanted to share their data in every app of their iOS device). Privacy is definitely winning, and pushing advertisers to be more innovative in how they reach and interact with consumers.

Understanding Identity & The Gaps in Linear vs. Digital

It all starts with Identity. In a world of digital and TV, it’s important to understand who’s seeing an advertisement. If you can’t do this, you certainly can’t measure. To bridge the gap between offline and online identities and get a better understanding of audiences, we first need to identify the differences and gaps in linear and digital in an effort to form a true cross-channel methodology. 

  • Linear: At VideoAmp, we commingle both ACR and STB data and resolve against the VideoAmp household ID. Although this provides a more accurate and reliable set of information for our clients, as with any dataset, there are still gaps to account for. To dive further into how we correct for the bias in our own dataset to better represent the entire US population, check out our Powerpuff Girls inspired blog on the subject, “Data Superpowers”. 
  • Digital: Bringing digital datasets together poses the real challenge for everyone. All of the aforementioned privacy changes have greatly impacted the ability to access data and moreso, resolve that data back to identity. The industry is in a transitional period where we still lean on pixels and log files, so it’s difficult to get a good understanding of coverage. While unmeasurable impressions seem to be increasing daily, we stay on the optimistic side and see some light at the end of the tunnel with the number of clean rooms on the rise. This new way of working will allow the industry to once again dive into meaningful insights while protecting consumer privacy and identity. 

While ABC might not be as easy as 123, VideoAmp works tirelessly to anticipate the next change, loss of coverage, or challenge to identity that may impact our clients. By applying probabilistic models to figure out how to distribute frequency across channels, our clients can optimize their media and ultimately make better advertising decisions.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact