fingerprint1Since online video is here to stay, understanding how it performs is crucial.

The online advertising world is in flux. Technologists would refer to it as being ‘in the Tornado’ but for those more familiar with TV, it wouldn’t be a stretch to compare it to the Madison Avenue world of traditional advertising of the 50s and 60s, immortalised in the popular show Mad Men.

From the Mad Men era, advertising has etched our cultural landscape and love it or hate it has formed many lasting cultural references – not to mention the resurrection of some pretty smart tailoring. Similarly, on YouTube smart video ads such as ‘First Kiss’ or ‘Like a Girl’ have made some compelling viewing, generating parodies and fascinating commentary on social interactions. YouTube is now part of our cultural lexicon.

In TV’s advertising heyday, TV networks were keen to provide metrics to advertisers in an attempt to capture advertising dollars. Over several decades Nielsen obliterated the competition to arrive at what is the TV industry standard metrics of TV ratings, measured in Gross Ratings Points (GRP).

TV programming is defined using demographic details and the viewers of those programmes are then packaged and sold by TV networks to advertisers. Advertising is bought and sold on the basis of GRP - it is the currency TV advertisers are familiar with. This is a relatively straightforward concept.

In online digital, specifically the dominant player YouTube, it’s a far different picture and the metrics disappear for two primary reasons.

Firstly, programming is consumed differently – there are layers of quality from ‘cats on skateboards’ to unboxing channels (watching people open toys). Video content is often niche focused and produced by individual video publishers (e.g. Zoella). And people watch when they want to – whereas TV is consumed in a linear fashion.

This means for advertisers, audiences are very fragmented.

Secondly, the regulation and ownership of content is quite different to TV programming. Because audiences are fragmented and watch niche content made by individual video publishers, Multi Channel Networks (MCNs) represent video publishers, in place of a TV network.

MCNs fulfil several roles but for advertisers they aggregate content to sell packaged audiences, at scale, to advertisers on YouTube - mimicking how TV audiences are sold. Unlike TV, however, advertisers are unable to gauge the quality of the video inventory their ads are being placed against.

And that is a big problem for advertisers – they are unable to gauge video content, brand safe content and advertising reach versus cost.

Last year, VIDIRO led the charge to market with an analytical tool (Channel Radar) which provided a quick way to evaluate Multi Channel Network performance on YouTube. Now refined, the product provides a comprehensive and comparable way to measure the audience share of a MCN across the whole YouTube universe.

Using the wealth of data available from YouTube, the VIDIRO MCN ‘fingerprint’ offers a quick way to evaluate MCN performance, scale and structure in a way that is familiar to advertisers used to TV ratings systems.

VIDIRO curates YouTube inventory to collect detailed information on the top two million performing channels, including the MCN (Multi-Channel Networks) affiliation for each. Now advertisers can see exactly the makeup of an MCNs best performing channels. And that means ad buyers can better choose who and how to spend their advertising dollars with.

VIDIRO’s digital fingerprint technology could prove to be a disruptive play in the industry. Though useful to advertisers, the digital fingerprint also provides an analysis of the health and growth of an MCN as it maps the relative performance and valuation of a channel network in comparison to others, illustrating skewed or evenly distributed audience share – it simply provides a transparency that hasn’t existed before.

We believe that Digital Fingerprint analysis could become the key performance indicators for any company, traditional or digital, which is invested in YouTube video.

Though we consider ourselves innovators, it is quite literally a revolutionary step in moving from ‘the Tornado’ of the ad tech world simply because it offers a transparency that is familiar to TV advertisers. It’s a bit like creating a bygone era for a modern age – we’ve even kept the smart tailoring.