iSpot CEO Sean Muller

iSpotTV Measures How Spots Wear Out in Ad Campaigns

Attention data can boost ratings for commercial breaks

Analytics company iSpot.TV has come up with a way to measure the rate at which commercials are wearing out during ad campaigns.

In addition to benefits for advertisers, the data can help networks, which can put spots that attract the most attention at the beginning of breaks, boost commercial and content ratings.

iSpotTV gets its viewing data from millions of connected TVs and logs which commercials air in which shows in real-time.

“Knowing how many people you reached is just the beginning of the journey,” said iSpotTV CEO Sean Muller. “But what really became clear is people really wanted to understand who was actually paying attention to their ads and who was taking an action and buying their product.”

Attention is becoming an increasingly important currency in the advertising business. iSpotTV measures attention by tracking whether viewing of an ad gets disrupted.

“We’ve actually been working on this methodology of measuring attention on television for three years now, but it’s really just now that we’ve put it all together in an actionable way that helps brands make sense of it all,” Muller said.

iSpotTV's system can detect if viewers changed the channel, flip to the guide, fast forward or turn off the TV after a commercial starts. Detecting when ads get interrupted by viewers lets the company calculate completion rates, attention scores and see how fast individual commercials are wearing out.

All ads don’t wear out the same way, Muller said. Instead there are distinctive patterns. Some ads wear out very slowly. Some show significant, continuous wear. And others won’t wear out for a while, but experience a sudden drop in the amount of attention they retain.

Muller said the key factors in ad wear-out are the creative content of the ad and the media plan, including how frequently it airs and in which program it runs.

“That’s why it’s important to have this type of measurement. Because not all ads are going to behave the same way,” he said. iSpotTV is also able to show the results graphically, making them easier to understand and analyze.

Muller said that several very large advertisers have already begun using the new service, which went live over the weekend.

“We have massive interest from the network side as well,” he adds.

One network has conducted a test with iSpotTV to see if it can use attention rates to boost viewing of commercial pods. In seven programs, iSpotTV was allowed to put the spots with the highest attention rate at the beginning of one pod, while the network programmed the other pods the way it usually does.

“We’ve already shown in these early experiments that we’re able to retain audiences at a higher level," Muller said.

Retaining more viewers mean higher commercial ratings and higher ad revenue for the networks.

“The preliminary results look very promising,” he said.