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Could hardware devices become the new ratings sources?

September 04, 2013

by Cordie DePascale

As marketers struggle with the disjointed, apples-to-oranges worlds of TV and Digital advertising, due solely to a lack of reliable cross-channel metrics, one wonders whether a breakthrough could ultimately lie with the hardware devices themselves. After all, this is where the data needed for measurement originates and is collected. Whether its Apple’s iphone, Microsoft’s Kinect, or any number of other point-of-collection devices, there’s a huge potential for these sorts of data streams to create a system of measurement for the new “TV Everywhere” age.

Take Kinect 2.0, for example. Aside from already having the user’s basic account information (name, age, registered location, demographic, etc.) it also recognizes faces, facial expressions, heart rates, body types, clothing styles and logos, and, of course, media habits.

Similarly, smartphone and tablet users generate constant streams of data on web-based viewing and downloading, apps, and real-time location. Not only is geotargeted marketing on the rise (with 27% of companies worldwide planning to implement it in 2013 according to Econsultancy), but geoaware and real-time mobile location data can serve dozens of other purposes.

Wearable health monitoring devices like Fitbit and Jawbone provide data points like steps walked, calories burned, heart rate and sleep levels; and full-spectrum wearable technology like Google Glass has a seemingly endless number of data measurement possibilities.

The sheer volume of all this device-based data is impressive, and considering that an agreed-upon, reliable system of measurement across channels is still sorely lacking, I believe there’s great deal of potential here.

75% of all US senior executives in a recent IAB survey said they planned to move dollars from TV to digital in the coming year, but while marketers want to expand their digital spend, and want the ability to plan campaigns across channels in a unified, cohesive way, the standards aren’t there yet. Verifiable statistics based on user-generated data is the key to getting there, and hardware devices are already in a prime position to provide it.