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Complete guide to Beatgrid’s cross-media audience measurement Solution

The Benefits of Beatgrid's Solution for Non-Invasive Media Content Tracking through Passive ACR Technology. Passive Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) Technology: Changing the Way We Measure Media Consumption Measurement.

Photo of Daniel Tjondronegoro at I-COM Málaga 2019

Passive automatic content recognition (ACR) to track media content without user engagement, providing an accurate view of media consumption habits. It is used for research and measuring TV, YouTube, and cross-media ads, and analyzing trends.

Tracking Ad Exposure With Single-Source ACR

Single-source ACR involves using a single data source, such as a TV provider, to track the exposure of an ad to an individual across multiple devices.

Passive automatic content recognition (ACR) is the method that Beatgrid uses to identify and track the media content that is being played on a device, without requiring the user to actively engage with the content or the ACR technology. ACR used in the industry works by creating a digital fingerprint or watermark of the media content and then matching that fingerprint or watermark to a database of known content. When the content is played on a device equipped with ACR technology, the fingerprint or watermark is automatically detected and the content is identified. One of the fundamental benefits of passive ACR technology is that it can provide a more accurate and comprehensive view of media consumption habits since it tracks all of the content that is played on a device rather than relying on self-reported data or voluntary interactions with the ACR technology. Passive ACR is in our case used for research and measurement purposes, such as tracking the effectiveness of TV, YouTube, and cross-media ads and analyzing media consumption trends.

What is Audio fingerprinting with ACR (Automatic Content Recognition) technology?

Audio fingerprinting with ACR (Automatic Content Recognition) technology refers to the process of creating a unique digital identifier, or "fingerprint," for an audio file or sound.

This audio fingerprint that we use to capture can be used to identify the audio when it is played on a device that is equipped with ACR technology. If an advertiser wants to track the effectiveness of a TV, YouTube, or CTV ads, they can use ACR technology to create a fingerprint of the audio in the ad. The fingerprint can then be used to identify when the ad is played on TV, even if the TV program or channel is changed. This allows the advertiser to track the number of times the ad was played and the audience reach of the ad. ACR technology is often used in conjunction with other methods, such as surveys or panel data, to provide a more complete view of an ad’s exposure and effectiveness.

Why is audio fingerprinting with ACR technology better than watermarking?

Audio fingerprinting with ACR technology is generally considered to be better than watermarking for a number of reasons.

Audio fingerprinting has lots of pros when compared to watermarking:

  • Audio fingerprinting is more robust and accurate than watermarking.
    Watermarking involves embedding a unique identifying code into an audio signal, while audio fingerprinting uses a mathematical representation of the audio signal itself as the identifier. This means that it is less susceptible to distortion or degradation, and can more accurately identify the audio even if it has been heavily processed or altered.
  • Another benefit to employing ACR which uses audio fingerprinting is that it is less obtrusive than watermarking. Watermarking involves adding a signal to the audio that is not audible to the human ear but can still be detected by specialized software. This can create audible artifacts or degrade the quality of the audio, which can be unpleasant for the listener. Audio fingerprinting, on the other hand, does not require the addition of any signal, so it does not affect the quality of the audio.
  • Automatic Content Recognition technology with audio fingerprinting is typically faster and more efficient than watermarking. As mentioned above, it uses a mathematical representation of the audio rather than a unique code, it can be processed more quickly and with less computational overhead. This can be especially important in applications where real-time identification is required, such as in live broadcasts or streaming services.

Overall, audio fingerprinting with ACR technology offers several advantages over watermarking, including greater accuracy, less obtrusiveness, and faster processing. These benefits make it a more effective solution for identifying and tracking audio in a wide range of applications. As media buyers and planners that are looking for alternative measurement alternatives, it is crucial for them to understand the benefits and widespread perks of using this kind of technology.

"By utilizing ACR technology to capture advertising exposure, advertisers who can measure and understand the drivers of engagement in their cross-media ad campaigns through deterministic, unduplicated, and single-source data will be able to tailor their ads to meet their audience's needs and desires effectively."

Passive ACR technology for TV and cross-media advertising measurement

Benefits of using audio fingerprinting with ACR technology for TV and cross-media advertising attribution.

But how can audio fingerprinting with ACR technology be used for TV and cross-media advertising attribution? Easy. Through single-source passive mobile ACR panels, which involve using a single data source, namely a mobile phone) the most ubiquitous device on Earth), to track the cross-media/cross-platform exposure of an advertisement to an individual across multiple channels. This allows advertisers more detailed insights into consumer behavior. By using ACR panels to measure ad exposure, buyers and planners can analyze not only the frequency of ad views, but also the time, place, type of device, and viewing context. This information can be key to determining the factors that influence ad engagement and adjusting campaigns accordingly.

Say goodbye to probabilistic data

Passive ACR technology, mobile panels, and deterministic data capture have been found to be the solution for measuring cross-media advertising exposure.

Passive mobile Automatic Content Recognition Technology panels give a more accurate measurement of ad exposure than the traditional methods of measuring TV ad exposure. In other words, single-source ACR technology uses deterministic data instead of the old-age claimed exposure that HH panels use, which doesn’t tend to capture the full extent of a cross-media advertising campaign. 

Deterministic vs Probabilistic to capture cross-platform advertising exposure.

There are two approaches to collecting and analyzing audience data: deterministic, unduplicated, and person-level audience measurement data and probabilistic data. The former is collected directly from an individual user using a unique identifier, while the latter is collected through statistical modeling and machine learning algorithms. Deterministic single-source, person-level, and unduplicated data use a highly accurate and reliable method, while probabilistic data provides broader insights but is less accurate and reliable. Deterministic data is typically collected through first-party or zero-party sources, while probabilistic data is collected through third-party sources. Tapping into third-party sources can lead media planners and buyers seeking for accurate measurement to encounter high hurdles in terms of data quality, accuracy, and data accessibility with the everlasting problem of walled gardens.

In conclusion, the use of passive automatic content recognition (ACR) technology, specifically audio fingerprinting with ACR, offers significant benefits over traditional watermarking methods in identifying and tracking media content. With its ability to provide a more accurate and comprehensive view of media consumption habits, it is widely used for research and measurement purposes. Passive ACR technology, coupled with single-source mobile ACR panels, is a highly effective solution for measuring ad exposure, providing advertisers with more detailed insights into consumer behavior, and allowing them to adjust campaigns accordingly. Moreover, using deterministic measurement through single-source ACR technology is superior to probabilistic data collection in capturing cross-platform advertising exposure. As media buyers and planners look for alternative measurement solutions, it is crucial for them to understand the benefits of using ACR technology and the wider implications for cross-media advertising attribution. The continued advancements in ACR technology hold the promise of even more accurate, efficient, and reliable measurement methods for cross-media advertising campaigns in the future.

Thanks to using our proprietary passive ACR technology we have been able to work with global brand advertisers all across the globe and measure 400+ cross-media advertising campaigns.

Picture of By Ian Alastair Hobkirk
By Ian Alastair Hobkirk

Digital Marketing Manager

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