iSpot integrates measurement tools for Google’s YouTube, YouTube TV

Following a partnership announcement last year, vendor iSpot on Tuesday disclosed wrapping up a key integration with Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV to help measure the platforms’ reach against the broader TV landscape.

The integration is with Google’s Ads Data Hub for Measurement Partners, with iSpot first named as a partner in October 2022. The aim is to determine incremental reach of ad campaigns that run on YouTube and virtual MVPD YouTube TV as compared to traditional linear and connected TV.

As part of the integration process the companies performed a pilot test with 11 advertisers and dozens of campaigns, showing that iSpot and YouTube’s customers can quantify the unique reach of YouTube properties.

The integration also involves iSpot’s Unified Measurement platform, which delivers ad measurement, ad-level reach, frequency and views of incrementality for ad campaigns across 900 streaming apps and TV. With the latest phase complete, iSpot customers will, starting July 5, be able to utilize the features directly within the Unified Measurement platform – allowing advertisers to determine total ad impressions and deduplicated audiences for the YouTube platforms across CTV and linear, including co-viewing (where more than one person is watching) and ad exposure on computers and mobile devices. The measurement vendor said it plans to create more granular audience breakdowns by demographic for viewership on YouTube and YouTube TV across linear, CTV, computer and mobile. Those segments are anticipated to be ready in Q4 of this year, before the 2024 season of Upfront negotiations.  

It's the latest work with an vMVPD, as earlier this month YouTube TV competitor Fubo similarly tapped iSpot to measure incremental reach for advertisers on the sports-centric streaming TV service.

In a statement, iSpot CEO Sean Muller described how brands can evaluate the difference between audiences they can only reach on YouTube or YouTube TV and those where there’s duplication.

“YouTube and YouTube TV are a significant part of the ad-supported landscape and provide advertisers substantial audience reach, ranging from people who are unreachable on linear TV to those with much overlap with other platforms and publishers,” said Muller in a statement. “Unified Measurement integration will give brands the power to know the difference and invest with confidence across the TV and streaming landscape.”

Google is working to provide advertisers with a clearer picture of its YouTube audience reach at a time when linear pay TV in Q1 experienced its worst-ever single quarter, where vMVPD YouTube TV was among the only providers (across traditional cable and satellite and streaming vMVPDs) to show growth, according to a new report from Wall Street firm MoffettNathanson.

The firm’s Q1 2023 Cord-Cutting Monitor estimated pay TV collectively shed 2.3 million subscribers in the period – nearly 300,000 more than the decline seen a year prior. Analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson wrote that linear’s Q1 decline puts pay TV penetration, including vMVPDs, at 58.5% of households, “a level last seen in 1992, two years before the debut of DirecTV brought ‘cable TV’ to rural America for the first time.”

And the report found that vMVPDs aren’t picking up the slack for traditional linear losses – together losing more than 250,000 households in Q1 by the firm’s estimates, “making the quarter among the worst to date.” The firm estimates the total vMVPD subscriber tally is just under 17 million households.

That said, while Fubo subscribers dropped by 160,000 in Q1 and Hulu + Live TV declined (losing around 100,000 for a base of 4.4 million), YouTube TV is one vMVPD that MoffettNathanson believes saw growth. The analysts estimate YouTube TV added 300,000 subscribers in Q1 and more than 1 million over the past year. As of last July, Google said YouTube TV had more than 5 million users.

YouTube TV is also proving to be an option for smaller broadband providers that are looking to discontinue costly video services but still offer a TV option as they try to attract and keep high-value broadband customers. Yesterday WOW! was the latest to do so, disclosing plans to discontinue its traditional video services and offer YouTube TV as its primary video product. Frontier Communications made a similar move in March.