Home Analysis ViewersLogic combines STB syncing, Wi-Fi triangulation and GDPR data portability rights to...

ViewersLogic combines STB syncing, Wi-Fi triangulation and GDPR data portability rights to disrupt TV attribution market

ViewersLogic is looking to disrupt the market for TV attribution and media optimisation solutions using a single-source panel with some smart technology and data flourishes. Panellists are rewarded for the data they supply, covering TV viewing, location and online and offline behaviours. A smartphone app is permissioned to mimic a remote-control, only without the commands, thus syncing with an STB to understand which channel is playing. The app uses Wi-Fi triangulation to determine which room the panellist is in, in order to demonstrate ‘person present’ when an ad is played out. And GDPR data portability rights are being leveraged to ingest supermarket loyalty card data relating to each panellist, to provide rich purchase insights.

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ViewersLogic believes it has a superior way to demonstrate the impact of television ad exposures on business outcomes, as the company looks to shake-up the market for media optimisation and attribution solutions. The company operates a representative panel of 8,500 consumers in the UK who have given permission for their TV viewing to be tracked and for their online and offline behaviours and location to then be monitored over time. The company will look to move into a major EU market or the U.S. next. The technology is available primarily for brands and agencies to use, but is also valuable to sales houses – with Channel 4 (in the UK) already a customer.

ViewersLogic claims that its panel-based, single-source data represents a revolution in measuring media effectiveness. On its website, it declares: “Reach, frequency, attention and emotional response are inaccurate proxies that are used to try to answer the real question – how did people change their behaviour after being exposed to your campaign? Stop measuring uncorrelated proxies and start measuring the actual uplift of your campaign.”

It gives examples of real outcomes, like product purchase, sign-up or website visits. Sales lift, and incremental app store visits and app downloads, can be linked back to TV ad exposure. As well as helping to demonstrate campaign ROI, the ViewersLogic technology shows how each cross-platform channel contributed to success.

The company offers a long list of how exposure measurement and/or advanced attribution can be used to boost media planning and campaign strategy. These span customer targeting, competitor customer targeting, inflight media mix optimisation, assessing competitor campaign performance, benchmarking against past campaigns, benchmarking against competitor campaigns, and more. All of this is underpinned by some smart technology for demonstrating when someone is in front of a television when an ad is played, and inventive use of GDPR to generate a waterfall of precious, free purchasing data.

ViewersLogic recruits its panellists online and they download the ViewersLogic app to their smartphones. They are incentivised to give access to their data: data collection is rewarded with points (the more data, the more points) and these are turned into Amazon vouchers. In return, the phone app is permitted to sync with a set-top box and track channel changes (by ‘speaking’ with the STB via the home Wi-Fi router, rather than directly). This syncing is also possible with some Smart TV models from LG and Samsung if viewers are using the Freeview service (UK free-to-air television) on them.

At the same time, the app senses the signal from all local Wi-Fi routers (in the home and from neighbours) to create a reception fingerprint that is unique for each room in a building. This Wi-Fi triangulation means the phone, carrying the app, can be located to a specific room. ViewersLogic looks at where the channel change takes place, and as 70-80% of the channel changes happen when the phone owner is in a specific room, this is used to determine that the television set is in this room. The company can therefore demonstrate ‘person present in front of television’. You can read more detail about the methodology at the bottom of this story – ultimately the system uses a probability threshold that is acceptable to advertisers.

Using BARB data, ViewersLogic then interrogates channel playout schedules to see which ads were shown at which times on the tuned-in channel, to make the connection between person present and the precise ads they were exposed to.

According to Ronny Golan, CEO and Co-Founder at ViewersLogic: “It takes two minutes for a panellist to sign up. The whole process is totally GDPR compliant because the app does nothing except collect your data and pay you money. There is a very clear value exchange there. The app tracks television behaviour, phone behaviour and location to show offline behaviour. We track activity right through to purchasing.

“Think of our app as a remote-control app that is not controlling anything. To see if our panellist is in front of the television, we look at Wi-Fi signal strength, using AI. You need to be carrying the phone, and most people do when watching TV, but if the phone is not present we will not consider it a view, as we cannot show someone is in front of the TV.”

ViewersLogic does not rely on ACR (automatic content recognition) for its UK operations, but Golan says this can be part of the solution and the company is talking to ACR vendors in other markets. “There are several technologies we can use – the architecture means we can change how we collect the data.”

ViewersLogic has found a way to access some of the most valuable purchase data available anywhere to show the downstream impact of the ad exposures. It gets free access to supermarket loyalty card data, like from Tesco Clubcard, by working GDPR laws to its advantage.

“GDPR is our greatest friend,” Golan declares. “When the law came out, everyone was afraid, but we were counting down the days until it arrived. Loyalty cards know everything you buy, but it is not their data, it is your data, and they must give it back to you in machine readable format on request. You [the consumer] can make a request through their website, so with the full consent of our users [panellists], we make a GDPR request on their behalf and ask for the data to be sent to ViewersLogic. The law says the data can go to a third-party – that is data portability’.”

Golan says loyalty card data is available for most of the ViewersLogic panel, and a subset of the panel can be assessed using both loyalty card data and NielsenIQ (Retail Measurement) data, which tracks sales in physical stores as well as ecommerce. He says his company is processing 2 billion data points every day. The solution keeps data live for a year so brands can interrogate the impact of older campaigns. Viewers can be split into exposed and non-exposed groups to show campaign effect.

The company claims it offers a better understanding of exposure-to-impact than alternative solutions and has various case studies to show what has been achieved. Proven brand uplift is one example, and another shows the value of a sponsorship when sponsorship was combined with regular TV ads (vs regular TV ads without sponsorship). ViewersLogic says new-to-TV brands can learn from what other brands have achieved in their sector, too.

The company, which has a UK HQ and R&D in Tel Aviv, claims it is disrupting ‘traditional’ attribution models that fuse data from different silos to find what it describes as “weak correlations between ad viewing and sales”. The innovation includes the option to extend the attribution window beyond the five-minutes considered typical on ‘traditional’ attribution models to one-week and beyond.

There are no patents on the ViewersLogic solution, with Golan declaring that “in software, patents don’t protect you, only good software engineering”. He points to barriers to replicating the ViewersLogic approach. “With data and AI, you have to develop technology to collect the data and then collect the data for a year before you can create a model to train your AI on, and you also have to build the panel,” he points out.

The ViewersLogic methodology – some more detail

To establish ‘person present in front of TV’, the mobile phone (containing the ViewersLogic panel app) constantly checks for Wi-Fi networks and every couple of minutes relays the results of this ‘survey’. ViewersLogic compares the fingerprint of the survey with the fingerprint of the rooms in the house (to determine which room the panellist is in).

What if the phone is on charge in the kitchen, where there is a television set playing, but the panellist is in their front room reading a book?

Golan admits this would cause a wrong reading, “but when you look at the entire data, these cases are so rare they do not affect the results of our analysis. We can know if the phone is being charged and the last time you touched it, and, for example, decide not to use the TV data if the phone is being charged and was not used for more than an hour. From our research, these cases are very rare.”

To cope with someone moving from watching television in one room to watching a different television in another room, each viewing instance would be treated as a separate process, with the viewing combined at the data analysis phase. Golan explains: “We connect to all the supported TVs and STBs in your house and constantly collect their data. We constantly get Wi-Fi survey results from the phone. We do nothing in real-time, but when we analyse the data, we only consider TV viewing if you are in the room with the TV.”

What about if someone is hanging around in the doorway, watching the television on their way to leaving the room – how does ViewersLogic understand whether you are ‘inside the border’ where you can still be watching TV, or outside it? Golan says: “The AI algorithm that looks at the in-house location gives us a probability that you are in the room – so if you are in the middle of the room, the probability that you are in the room will be very high, and when you are in the doorway it will be smaller.

“Clearly, we do not have an exact map of the house, so we decided that we consider you to be watching TV only if the probability is very high. We have performed a lot of testing to define this.”

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