Countless articles have hailed Connected TV (CTV) as one of the major media winners of the fundamentally disrupted Covid-19 media landscape. And if marketers and buyers alike were already moving away from linear TV alone towards CTV, then we can all agree that lockdown in particular has hastened its ascendancy; it is also clear that growth will continue exponentially. However, there is always one caveat: the data. “Yeah, but the measurement isn’t quite…” begins the paragraph halfway down the CTV article, closely followed by worries about privacy.
For an industry that loves a good three letter acronym - think CRM, CPA, CPC, CTA, CTR… the list goes on - many marketers are already familiar with CTV and OTT (Over The Top), but there’s a new acronym on the block that marketers need to know and it addresses these very issues: ACR. This next generation methodology captures and understands true viewing behaviour in the new CTV era, unlocking the true power of 34 million-plus Smart TVs.
What is ACR and why do I need to know about it?
Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) is a highly effective, privacy compliant way to get direct insights of viewership behaviour through de-identified first-party data collected from Smart TVs. It doesn’t rely on modelling or aggregated panels, but genuine one-to-one, deterministic data. It recognises content viewership across linear TV, OTT and gaming environments to help marketers better understand the content being consumed behind the TV screen.
In many ways, ACR is an advertising holy grail: solving multiple CTV problems at once. This proprietary source of data from more than 34 million Samsung Smart TVs across Europe offers an effective and accurate way to capture TV viewership data, helping to power three key things:
- Better consumer experience - delivering “smart” recommendations to help consumers find content they will want to engage with.
- Engagement insights - providing valuable information to advertisers and publishers on how household users engage with their content.
- Increased relevance - enabling better targeting capabilities by allowing advertisers to use this data to deliver relevant ads tailored to the viewer’s interests.
In the past, ACR results were often limited to the small number of meta-data providers that provided the fingerprint snapshots, which was the glue to ACR. This meant that while a vendor may have a large number of installed devices, all their data was dependent on a small library provided by a third party provider. As a result, the matched ACR data was a smaller subset of what was possible.
Since then, vendors like Samsung have either built their own capabilities (uploading their own fingerprint data) or acquired additional sources of fingerprint data (client creatives or promotional materials), which has exponentially increased the value of their respective ACR platforms. Samsung ACR is proprietary and optimises reach and frequency: it consolidates advanced TV measurements on a single platform; targets the right audiences via glass level technology; and can reach viewers who may have missed marketers’ linear ads. It can also handle interest-based targeting, based on viewers’ content consumption.
Furthermore, the data can be enhanced with other data sources from the devices (connected to the TV), allowing for a greater understanding not only of what is being watched on the TV, but how it was watched. “On-Screen ACR” determines not only that the device was on, but that the content was visible on the screen at the time. This gives advertisers the confidence that their creative was served to a TV that is actually turned on, a challenge a number of addressable vendors are still wrestling with.
ACR: The future of Advanced TV measurement
Samsung believes that ACR will act as the validater of other data sources, for example stronger TV based meta-data sources. This removes any unnecessary data that clouds the bigger picture, making the transaction more efficient and effective.
Making this path more efficient - performed with stronger AI and edge computing - means marketers still get the data they need but remove the data they don’t. By simplifying and improving this process, ACR can cover more content, more mediums and be used for more advanced applications, such as brand or product identification, and expand advertising validation initiatives, such as brand placement or sponsorships. This is even possible in new and growing media like gaming and social media, which would create a significant value shift for such advertising initiatives.
Now more than ever, it’s easy to over-expose heavy linear TV viewers and miss other audiences entirely. Consumers’ TV viewing habits have shifted and brands and agencies need to match this by embracing cross-platform strategies which will not only deliver incremental reach for hard-to-reach audiences but added frequency to under-exposed linear audiences.