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M&E Journal: A Recipe for Efficiency and Productivity in M&E

Harold S. Geller, Ad-ID

A recipe is a list of ingredients and the instructions that describe how to prepare or make something. In the case of M&E, and in particular advertising, we are discussing the recipe to place content in front of the consumer.

In the past, disparate processes from a variety of entities served those entities and their partners well. Everyone was cooking from their own recipe. However, as ad-supported content is increasingly consumed across a multitude of devices, by both linear and on-demand methods, the need for a consistent, shared recipe using the highest quality ingredients has become critical. Standard processes are necessary to provide an optimal consumer experience no matter what device the consumer is using.

As part of an ecosystem, we must start with standardized file delivery formats that contain the best available video, audio, closed captions, common identifiers, and metadata. Consistent application of these components will result in efficient and reusable workflows.

There are several pivotal efforts underway to make progress in this area, and they are shining examples of cooperation that will lead to increased efficiency, and opportunities for further collaboration:

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 3.36.43 PMEight leading trade associations serving the advertising, marketing, and video technology industries are joining forces to create a series of guidelines that collectively simplify the distribution of digital ads throughout the video production sector.

The trade groups will establish three joint working groups to focus on file delivery specifications, advertising metadata, and audio specifications and best practices.

In addressing standards and making recommendations to simplify digital video advertising distribution, the working groups will help advertisers, agencies, and production houses to streamline cross-platform video delivery.

This unprecedented collaboration will chart a more efficient course to support consumer consumption and ease navigation across multiple screens, and to overcome current and future interoperability challenges.

The Ad Consortium

The Ad Consortium is involved in creating and implementing standards and establishing best practices for streamlining the workflows of ad scheduling and distribution. This effort will also integrate the tracking of talent, licensed element use, and payments across advertising assets.

Member companies of the Ad Consortium are stakeholders who play key roles and collaborate in the process of creating, distributing, and tracking ad content and making related payments by facilitating and automating processes in the ad life cycle.

The Ad Consortium provides a way for marketers and agencies to leverage premier solutions for what is reported and paid by:

Identifying the best existing standard at each step in the process.

Establishing an agreed-upon standard where one does not exist or needs improvement.

Committing, as a collective, to adhere to these agreed-upon standards and making them open to the industry.

Using Ad-ID, the standard for identifying ad assets across every media platform, as the common identifier and metadata source for ad distribution, traffic, talent payments, and rights and asset management across all integrated platforms.adconsortium members

The Ad Consortium’s goals are to:

Establish open standards and best practices that help advertisers and their agencies efficiently manage the distribution and tracking of their assets.

Implement fail-safe practices for accurate tracking and payment of talent and licensed elements used in advertising assets.

Assist marketers through the maze of new and emerging media (VOD, OTT, HTML5, Social, etc..) by enabling standard and efficient delivery, rights-tracking, and talent business management.

Where possible, provide new opportunities to advertisers through electronic distribution and scheduling, allowing for last minute air buys in an increasingly dynamic environment

UniversalAdId

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is the industry standard delivery mechanism developed for video ads across multiple platforms.

The latest version, VAST 4.0, focuses on improving the quality of video ads by adding support for features like server side ad insertion, a mezzanine file, and UniversalAdId. The UniversalAdId, such as Ad-ID in the United States, is used to provide a unique creative identifier that is maintained and tracked across all systems.

Implementing a UniversalAdId standard for the creative identifier ensures that an individual video ad will have a single, unique identifier across publishers and campaigns.

This helps bring digital video metrics more in line with those that exist for TV by providing the ability to control, track, and measure ad creatives accurately. Having a unique identifier creates efficiencies in workflows and, by enabling all associated data to follow across systems, allows the creative to be consistently tracked. This facilitates streamlined data collection, improves reporting accuracy, and provides real-time measurement when running cross-platform campaigns.

Watermarks

Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) and Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) standard for Open Binding of IDs (OBID) is focused on using watermarks to associate unique identifiers with content — Ad-ID for advertising content and Entertainment Identifier Registry Association (EIDR) for program content.

This initiative is developing an open watermarking standard for binding into the essence of an audio/video a content identifier that can survive through the entire supply chain. The watermark will be leveraged to enable granular cross-platform audience measurement, in addition to other innovative capabilities.

CIMM expects that the OBID audio watermark technology partner(s) will be selected before the end of 2016, and drafting of the standards will begin. The next step will be to promote the use of these watermarks, including at all industry technical and measurement conferences, as well as through pilot programs that demonstrate their utility.

Unique advertising identifiers

Ad-ID Selective and Complete External Access (CEA and SEA) are industry tools that provide validation of unique advertising identifiers and the retrieval of necessary metadata for Ad-ID codes through an API interface.

Unique identifiers and associated metadata about ads must be accessible for operational purposes, and CEA and SEA will enable innovation in ad operations, ad decisioning, and audience measurement. Consistent identifiers and standardized metadata are vital for efficient and accurate processes within the supply chain.

Open access to Ad-ID’s metadata facilitates cross-platform management, provides new automation capabilities, and can improve validation processes for cross-platform measurement.

With the proper ingredients and agreed-upon instructions from leaders within the advertising ecosystem, as discussed above, the entire marketing community benefits from streamlined processes and seamless workflows. Collaboration around common goals creates the recipe for sustained growth.

These initiatives, which bring together industry associations and participating companies in the supply chain to solve pressing challenges, are the right ones, at the right time. They are foundational to enabling common processes and practices to satisfy the ever-expanding digital appetite of marketers and consumers.

Implementing these practices across the marketing and communications ecosystem will result in meaningful standardization throughout the supply chain, thus increasing efficiency, profitability, and growth for the industry.

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