Modern Media: Harder to Measure, Harder to Activate and Harder to Optimize

By Steve Bagdasarian, Chief Commercial Officer, Comscore

We are at a tipping point in media; a threshold between one era and another. Already, we can speak of “modern media” as a clear departure from the past. From channel fragmentation and convergence to privacy and signal deprecation, modern media presents unique challenges that defy conventional methodologies and make measurement, activation and optimization more challenging than ever before.

This year’s upfronts highlighted the need for advertisers and media buyers to integrate their strategies across all platforms—linear TV, streaming, and digital—ensuring no audience segment is overlooked.

There are no easy workarounds. Modern media needs modern infrastructure, not scaffolding, and fundamental changes rather than small adaptations.

Navigating Fragmentation and Convergence

Today’s media environment is a complex blend of traditional and new, where linear television intersects with digital platforms and streaming services. This convergence has led to a fragmented media landscape where advertisers must navigate a mix of channels. This year’s upfronts are more than a buying event; they represent a pivotal moment for the industry to embrace a more holistic measurement framework that reflects not only the diverse ways audiences consume media today but also how media performs across channels.

Each channel offers distinct advantages and reaches different segments, complicating the task of forming a unified media strategy. Advertisers are compelled to master these platforms, each requiring bespoke strategies that can integrate seamlessly to realize the strengths of each medium.

The challenge for advertisers is to maintain a cohesive brand message across these platforms. The complexity at every level of the value chain has increased, particularly in measuring media consumption, which has become more challenging and resource-intensive. Media professionals must now account for multiple touchpoints in a consumer’s journey, ensuring that each interaction is accurately captured and attributed to the correct channel.

Measurement must evolve to meet this challenge. To solve for endemic fragmentation in modern media,  modern measurement must include digital and television media and be both widely accepted and broadly integrated.

The Shift to Privacy-Centric, ID-Free Solutions

As privacy regulations tighten and digital platforms evolve, the traditional foundations of media exchange are eroding. This evolution has diversified the signals available—from first-party data to universal IDs—pushing the advertising industry away from reliance on any single identifier.

The future of advertising is moving towards either adopting a multi-ID system or completely abandoning IDs altogether. This transition necessitates a departure from traditional reliance on cookies and other tracking mechanisms, which are too slow for today’s fast-paced media environment and limit the ability to make timely optimizations during a campaign’s lifecycle.

The move towards ID-free programmatic solutions is crucial for adapting to these changes. Such infrastructures must prioritize privacy and adapt to the deprecation of traditional signals, allowing advertisers to maintain effective targeting and publishers to support addressability without reliance on any single identifier.

This shift aligns with a privacy-forward approach and facilitates the transition from retrospective analysis to real-time campaign adjustments. By responding swiftly to market dynamics and consumer interactions, advertisers can enhance overall campaign effectiveness and ROI.

Enhancing Real-Time Capabilities and Data Utilization

The capability for real-time data analysis and application has become paramount. Advertisers must leverage technologies that allow for the immediate use of data to inform campaign adjustments and media buying decisions. This approach enables a more dynamic interaction with media channels, where decisions can be made on the fly based on the latest consumer data and engagement metrics.

Advertisers must not only collect vast amounts of data but also synthesize and apply this information to optimize media strategies. This requires sophisticated data management platforms and analytical tools that can process and analyze data from diverse sources, providing insights that drive media planning and execution.

Measuring media impact is difficult, activating campaigns quickly is challenging, and optimization strategies need to evolve continually. Overcoming these challenges demands the adoption of new technologies and methodologies that prioritize privacy, enhance real-time capabilities, and leverage comprehensive data across all media forms.

By embracing these solutions, we can redefine media strategy and execution standards, ensuring relevance and success in the modern media landscape.