As the industry increasingly embraces streaming while demanding accountability, Comscore and LiveRamp last week announced they were joining forces to try to lap the field in terms of measurement.
The partnership will focus on three areas: outcome-based measurement, data activation and a data safe haven to assure companies are comfortable using data in a privacy-friendly way.
All of these are hot topics at a time when the traditional advertising business is being hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic and advanced advertising is seen as a way to insure marketers that when they decide to spend dollars, they’ll get a superior return and be able to measure it.
“I believe this deal is transformational,” said Bill Livek, who last year took over as CEO of Comscore, which spent three years distracted by announcing issues and management changes that ultimately led to the company paying a fine to fraud charges.
“The genius of our relationship with LiveRamp is that brands can now have the truth about what’s going on in the television and digital video environment and and put real money on it,” he said.
The partnership is a practical way of providing clients what they’re asking for. “Certain things you have to build if they were not invented,” Livek said about Comscore’s system for using big data to measure consumer viewing behavior both on TV and in digital and LiveRamp’s identity graphs and attribution software.
“LiveRamp has done a marvelous job. Having two giant in the industry working together shows that we’re going to leapfrog everyone else,” he said.
The partnership aims to employ Data + Math, which LiveRamp acquired in 2018 to provide MVPDs, network, local stations and others with outcome-based measurement,” said Chris Wilson, chief commercial officer at Comscore.
In terms of data activation, “There’s a lot of great things we can do around expanding our activation work together including connected TV, which is a new and emerging area,” Wilson said adding that at the same time “more of our customers are looking for privacy-friendly ways to bring information together either from the brands and advertisers or third-party data in conjunction media exposure in a cross-platform world. The Safe Haven approach allows them to do that in a way that makes them comfortable and really supercharges the amount of commerce that can be done."
LiveRamp sees the world moving towards advanced advertising, which requires the careful handling of data.
“It seems that the future is accelerating,” said Jay Prasad, chief strategy officer for LiveRamp TV.
“The trends are around more addressability in advertising, the strong tailwind around streaming and accountability in marketing. Budgets have shrunk, but the ones that exist, they want to see what works so that you can continue to make smart investments,” Prasad said. “By partnering with Comscore, we’re able to take currency-grade media data and combine that with LiveRamp’s scale in identity and data distribution . . . at a time when the industry is fragmented this partnership brings things together in a way that makes it easy for the buy side and the sell side to take advantage of those tailwinds.”
The two companies plan to approach clients together under a contact that spells out the undisclosed formula for dividing revenue.
The arrangement is not exclusive but the two companies plan to appear joined at the hip when they go to market.
“I would characterize it as a ‘preferred partnership’ in the sense that we’re going to be working very closely together, selling each other’s services into their appropriate marketplaces,” said Wilson. “It’s in both our interest to really make this succeed from a sales and product-development perspective.”
The two companies will be able to get some products quickly to the marketplace. Others will take a bit longer.
For example, a version of Data Plus Math enhanced by Comscore’s audience data should be available to be used for any upfront deals that involve guaranteeing options, Prasad said. “This is probably going to be a very big year in terms of business outcome guarantees and other types of transactions,” he said.
“We’re also contemplating the international reach of both companies,” Prasad added. “We’re already starting to look at how we enable pieces of this in different markets as there’s strong demand across the world for these types of solutions.”
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