Four Questions For Michael Parkes, President VideoAmp
By Brad Adgate
VideoAmp, an ad tech and audience measurement software company was founded in 2014. In recent years with Nielsen under pressure from advertisers and media companies, VideoAmp along with a few other companies have had their profile raised as a possible replacement in measuring cross-platform audiences, audience deduplication and determining business outcomes among other attributes.
As President at VideoAmp, Michael Parkes is responsible for driving the company’s go-to-market strategy and creating a high-performance culture focused on successful customer outcomes. Parkes has a track record of delivering results for advertisers within linear TV, digital media and marketing technology. A Sydney native, Parkes earned his BA at the University of Technology Sydney and now lives in the New York City with his family and pug.
We asked Parkes four questions about the current status of audience measurement in in a fragmented video landscape and VideoAmp in particular. Here are the responses:
What has VideoAmp done differently than other measurement providers out there and how are clients seeing and, really, leveraging that to help their own business models succeed? What are you hearing from them?
Parkes: “VideoAmp has invested heavily in building technology to support the use of big data for cross-platform measurement and, now, as currency. We have built currency-grade measurement with first class data sources and methodology, end to end workflow automation and interoperability and now we are focused on customer enablement. Legacy television currency and measurement solutions built on a single panel, siloed from big data, are unable to effectively measure increasingly fragmented audiences and streaming or provide accurate attribution to business outcomes so media can be properly valued. Legacy systems are also reliant on manual processes and heavy service models which add to the inefficiency and make effective optimization next to impossible.
Clients have told us providing a measurement solution that can be used for currency requires a holistic approach to the entire process to be successful. In response we have made significant updates to our software tools to provide actionable insights, automated data flows enabled by APIs and data integrations into buy and sell side partner workflows. We are making our data available anywhere it needs to be to support billions of dollars of transactions using VideoAmp as currency in the next upfront. Clients appreciate how we are approaching the complete solution, not just the measurement piece. We are building an advertising platform on which media buyers and sellers can run their business more profitably.”
Talk to me about Upfronts 2023: While there has been some traction using new measurement sources for guarantees this year, do you think next year’s upfront will really be that watershed moment where new currencies are utilized in a big way?
Parkes: “Yes, I do. This will be the first television upfront where buyers and sellers will price media both on VideoAmp and Nielsen. We think this is huge. This choice creates options for the market that did not exist before, and this is a full year before the legacy currency goes away altogether in 2024. Some could even say this time next year VideoAmp will be the incumbent currency in television, as the market would have been transacting on it longer than Nielsen One which has not yet launched.
The value of moving off legacy currency is real. Let me give you a real-life example: A recent campaign transacted on VideoAmp as media currency delivered a 4 to 1 Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) across a major TV networks’ linear and digital inventory for a leading U.S. advertiser. This was 2.5 times the conversion rate of the rest of the media buy and yielded a 17% savings in the CPM against the brands advanced audience target. With no extra effort, the brand achieved dramatically better performance by choosing a new currency and way of transacting. The publisher also delivered the campaign with less waste. The potential here speaks for itself and it’s that potential that we think will really help the industry cut waste and increase the value of advertising. Making ad dollars work smarter is important in a normal economy and absolutely critical in a tighter one.”
What does the long-term future of cross-media measurement look like for the industry?
Parkes: “The cross-platform measurement solution of the future has a foundation of big data but also requires new technologies to ensure data privacy and security. Along with our partners, we have moved measurement towards this more secure future as a first step with ‘cleanrooms’. As a standalone piece of infrastructure cleanrooms have been commoditized by cloud providers, but what differentiates any cleanroom integration today is the value of the workflows it enables relative to the friction required to stand up an integration.
Our cleanroom offering is differentiated around four pillars. The first is making integration easy for publishers no matter what the use case–measurement, currency, attribution, planning…you name it. The second is the integration itself can be run and consumed from VideoAmp UIs and APIs in every use case, which simplifies the utility of using a cleanroom. The third is facilitating advanced measurement because most cleanroom integrations are constrained by the queries it can support, whereas ours allows for far more complex methodologies to enable Attribution, Lift, Virtual IDs etc. Finally, it’s low maintenance. Our goal is for publisher buildouts to require no more than a day’s work for technical resources on the publisher side. The investments we are making in privacy protecting technologies give clients the confidence that our solution is future-proofed for what’s to come in an ever-evolving landscape.”
How important is having cooperation among all parts of the media industry–be it media owners, buyers or even industry groups–in order to capitalize on opportunities and manage against what seems like constant change?
Parkes: “It’s one of the most important things, actually. Collaboration across the industry is critical to advancing cross-media measurement. Inevitable changes in the media landscape require buyers and sellers to align on new standards on which they want to transact. We are committed to doing our part to enable this by providing the most flexibility of any currency provider in the market so the market can choose.
Collaboration and transparency around methodology has also been a big part of our success. This extends to evolving cross-media measurement standards. Recently, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Cross-Media Measurement (CMM) Initiative and VideoAmp completed a Virtual ID (VID) proof of concept earlier this year that compared cross-screen reach and frequency metrics using variations of VID modeling approaches. The results proved that the VID model, originally developed for digital, can also be applied to US television data. The test also provided valuable learnings around the limitations of the VID model and implementation parameters which can be used to inform future testing.
For our part, VideoAmp is launching an alpha program for cross-media measurement based on the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Industry Framework and the VID model. This includes the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) recommendation for handling VID-based impression metadata. We want to provide the market with options and will continue to collaborate with buyers and sellers to optimize to the most ideal outcome for everyone.”