NBCUniversal has been demonstrating the impact of its multi-year deal with iSpot.tv (announced in January) to provide real-time cross-screen measurement across a range of media proxies and business outcomes – with the capabilities accessed via One Platform. iSpot.tv provides second-by-second measurement for ads and verified impressions for programming and advertising, and both NBCUniversal and the solution provider view the metrics as an alternative currency across buyers and sellers. The 2022 Olympic Winter Games have been used as one of two high-profile pilots (along with Super Bowl LVI) conducted in collaboration with clients and media agencies led by Publicis Media.
NBCUniversal calls the expanded Olympics measurement a test-and-learn initiative. “Our partnership with iSpot is completely changing the TV and advertising business model,” the media owner claims. Select NBCU advertisers are being given access to impact measurement including granular attention and interruption rates, business-outcome reporting and creative performance that includes pre-testing and brand-lift analysis.
The statistics being released daily by NBCUniversal during the Games are designed to show what can be measured thanks to the iSpot.tv initiative, but they also reveal the stunning success of this event for the broadcaster-streamer and its advertisers. And this is not just smart adtech – the data demonstrates how lower ad loads are helping to drive engagement and how that combination is economically viable.
During primetime on Tuesday, NBC had a 24% lower ad load and delivered 134% more impressions per unit than the other three U.S. broadcast networks combined, according to the figures released by NBCU. Throughout the Games up to that point, the Olympics coverage on NBC had a 27% lighter ad load and delivered 169% more ad impressions per unit than the other three broadcast networks combined.
On February 7, NBCUniversal demonstrated how it can link ad exposure to business outcomes. Data revealed that viewers were 34% more likely to search for brands that advertised in NBC Primetime Olympics coverage vs what it calls competitive broadcast/cable norms. On February 5 there was a 39% greater likelihood that viewers would search for brands that advertised in the Primetime Opening Ceremony versus competitive broadcast/cable norms. The February 5 data from NBCU showed that brand recall was up 53% and message memorability was up 70% versus “competitive broadcast/cable norms”.
Tuesday (February 8) delivered 982 million household TV ad impressions within Olympic Games coverage (nearly four-times the nearest show that day). The broadcaster-streamer had delivered 6.7 billion household ad impressions since the Games opened on February 2. Completion rates on Tuesday were 98%. NBCU is claiming 10% higher engagement/attention rates for advertising during the Games versus the industry average for the Games so far. During Week One of the Olympics, advertisers have seen a 9% uplift in purchase consideration compared to the week before the Games, while the same figure for non-Olympic advertisers if flat.
Across all TV on Tuesday, the Olympics were the No.1 programme by ad impression delivery with a 12% share of voice. On Feb 5 they delivered 23% SOV. On Tuesday, the Olympics accounted for around one-ninth of the TV ad impressions that day. The Olympics had a 39% share of voice against the other broadcast networks, and 449% more impressions than the No.2 show, Celebrity Big Brother on CBS.
The test-and-learn initiative builds on NBCU and iSpot.tv’s business outcome arrangement established in 2018, designed to provide full-funnel attribution that correlates TV and video ad exposures to the actions taken as a result. “From digital activity on websites and apps to in-store visits and call activity, brands will understand the lift in activity and conversions from their investment in NBCU vs. their total TV and video spend during the same time period,” the media owner explains.
iSpot.tv has been broadly adopted by the video industry and marketing world. Thirty per cent of brand advertisers and half of the top 100 television and video advertisers utilise iSpot.tv. Krishan Bhatia, President & Chief Business Officer at NBCUniversal Advertising and Partnerships, says: “iSpot.tv has set a high benchmark for measuring ads at scale and sharing information broadly with the industry. That transparency and dedication to accuracy has established a foundation of trust on all sides of the industry and made them an ideal partner to conduct such a massive test.”
Using iSpot.tv, brands who advertise with NBCU will gain access to real-time airing data for linear, streaming and time-shifted viewing, and receive comprehensive reports on a next-day basis that include ad impressions, reach and frequency, linear and streaming overlap and incrementality, among other metrics. Measurement will be provided at the household level as well as at the person level for age/gender demos and/or for customised audience segments.