Here’s Why the Media Industry Needs to Embrace a Multi-Currency Strategy

The media industry has seen a currency revolution over the last few years. Advertisers, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and other media owners recognized the shift in content consumption and the need for more insight into growing connected TV spend. This created an opportunity to test alternative currencies and measurement tools and embrace new ways to plan and measure.

Ultimately, a demand for flexibility and accountability will result in a wide variety of currencies and measurement applications, as well as a more dynamic marketplace that can support standard and custom currencies based on large data sets and identity, calibrated with panels and available via cloud platforms.

Once the industry finally reached this crucial tipping point, the question for most players quickly shifted from “should we change currencies?” to “which ones should we use?” or even “can we create a custom metric?” With both the buy and the sell sides starting now and willing to experiment with new currencies, a flurry of providers and data sets have emerged on the scene.

To simplify the landscape, today’s currencies can most easily be grouped into two categories: impression-based currency metrics and value-based currency outcomes.

Future-proofing impression-based currencies

Plainly speaking, an impression-based currency counts impressions. CPMs may still remain the metric of choice to transact media on, but media sellers are now required to provide advertisers with guarantees and more granular details on the audience and the success of strategic audience-based impressions across screens.

The future of currencies depends on achieving holistic measurement across linear and digital platforms by leveraging best-in-class data connectivity and privacy-first, future-proof data collaboration.

To accomplish this and power accurate impression counting, data collaboration is required, preferably with a partner who remains impartial to how many impressions were delivered, and one who can provide the cross-screen reporting advertisers need to monitor their frequency-capping and audience-suppression objectives. To strengthen trust in impression-based reporting, both sides require the role of a neutral third-party.

LiveRamp recently integrated identity for a buy-side ad server and now matches impressions to its proprietary identity graph before pushing logs into a collaborative environment for analysis. As a media-agnostic software solution 100% focused on enabling trusted data collaboration, we give advertisers greater precision and higher audience addressability for connected TV (CTV) compared to industry benchmarks.

Additionally, if and when currency moves away from CPM, RampID—LiveRamp’s durable, privacy-protecting identifier—ensures this process can remain unchanged, future-proofing impression-based planning and offering more consistent measurement over time. Working within the marketplace where measurement companies are reselling or accessing via API, LiveRamp enables advertisers to access the data necessary to execute new guarantee types on impressions and audiences and cross-screen unique reach guarantees.

Moving toward frictionless, value-based currency

Value-based currency—when media buyers and sellers agree to exchange value on a specific outcome such as conversion events (for example, site visitation, sales, app engagement or install)—has traditionally come with some friction. Industry alignment on a value-based currency like cross-screen reach guarantees helps avoid arbitrage, but will require some historical reference to accurately measure performance. This only happens when both sides start building these data sets by actually running these measurement types on as many campaigns as possible.

Business outcomes are the key to the future of value-based measurement, but it must mature further, along with other value-based currencies. Models, established benchmarks and more equitable accountability will be required to minimize the volatility of outcome-based selling. But this approach ultimately brings both advertisers and media sellers greater flexibility in determining and aligning on value.

To significantly reduce friction, the industry needs to look one layer above the measurement application and use a dynamic enablement solution that allows new currency metrics to come to life, and a new environment where analytic partners can be enabled. This will allow media sellers to meet the needs of advertisers and provide flexibility for which data sets can be used. It also will both power measurement and addressability as well as multi-touch attribution, mapping offline to online sales and other solutions and services that help overcome current insight challenges. Value-based currencies are any relevant metric derived from the foundation of impression-based mechanisms that the buyer and seller both agree has media transaction value.

Creating new standards for multiple currencies

TV has evolved into a multi-platform market consisting of linear and digital streams and on-demand offerings across a fragmented TV ecosystem. The future of currencies depends on achieving holistic measurement across linear and digital platforms by leveraging best-in-class data connectivity and privacy-first, future-proof data collaboration. Whatever the desired metrics, standardizing on interoperable identity with measurement applications and platforms can help ensure the accountability of addressable, programmatic and CTV. 

In the future, only advertisers who have a neutral partner to help navigate their challenges more effectively with data by offering cross-screen measurement, TV attribution and improved ways to negotiate media on business outcomes will be able to power all parts of the ecosystem.