How RPD is shaping the future of advertising

Ever since the first TV commercial aired, the industry's challenge has always been the ability to accurately measure its impact - be it on brand perception, recall and, crucially, on sales.

When Kantar Media first introduced RPD (return path data) in 2005, the company's vision always extended to its potential as a tool that helps connect those dots and generates new types of insight, well beyond pure audience measurement.

For example, RPD's robust and vast amounts of information on individual viewing behaviour can be matched with other datasets, such as shopping behaviour, loyalty programmes and proprietary customer databases. Last October, the launch of Kantar Media's Data Partner Programme (DPP) in the U.S. moved this early vision of RPD as a game changer from theory to reality.

This new programme enables clients to overlay DIRECTView's Return Path Data with other datasets such as proprietary databases, third-party socio-demographic, shopping and loyalty card databases to name just a few examples. Uncovering connections between a TV ad and consumers' subsequent attitudes and behaviours provides insights that impact the core of an advertiser's business.

A match made in data heaven

Microsoft Advertising and Google TV Ads signed on as the programme's first clients, creating partnerships with two of the world's biggest advertising technology companies. The first partner, Microsoft Advertising, overlays data from DIRECTView with other data it currently uses for analytics in its Admira media-buying platform. Likewise, Google TV Ads integrates DIRECTView's RPD into Google's Adwords interface to offer clients a better optimisation of their ad placements.

Giving advertisers a better understanding

Even more promising is the potential to overlay viewership data for an individual ad or campaign against consumer purchase behaviour databases, and finally understand the impact of advertising on sales. Pinpointing correlations between advertising and sales can allow brands to fully determine their return on investment. By contrasting other data such as socio-demographic or lifestyle attributes against RPD, media planners and buyers can get a better understanding of how factors such as creative, pod position, programming genre and day-part are impacting specific actions at a household level. The Data Partner Program's current integrations are already helping improve cost-effectiveness for marketers and media agencies, and demonstrate value for media clients. All of this in a sound methodological framework based on RPD's universe of hundreds of thousands of households.

The future value of RPD

Looking to the future, RPD's flexibility can also extend the possibilities of data overlay to all three screens (online and mobile). Marketers would then have a holistic view of a multimedia campaign's impact on consumers' actions at the checkout - be it virtual or bricks and mortar. The advertising industry finally has a robust research tool to understand the complex dynamics between a specific campaign and its impact in the real world.

DIRECTView is one of the largest national audience measurement services available in the United States. The service enables measurement of the entire spectrum of live and time-shifted (DVR) audience viewing behaviours at a second-by-second level across more than 350 channels from over 100,000 U.S. households.

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