Every second counts

Monday, May 18, 2009 | 12:46 PM

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Today's installment of the TV Viewership Insights Series looks under the hood of the Google TV Ads' measurement system. Every day, Google analyzes anonymized data from millions of set-top boxes tuned to several thousand different ad airings in order to describe precise second-by-second tuning behavior for each commercial break.

In this example, we looked at audience tune in and tune out behavior before, during and after a commercial break. Check out this video to see what we found:

Immediately at the start of commercial, a small percentage of the audience tunes away. The audience starts to grow again about halfway through the break, presumably as some of these viewers return in anticipation of the programming resuming. Once the programming resumes, the audience builds back up to roughly its original size, over the course of about two minutes.

We also looked at the exact number of tunes in and out at each second. All the numbers are relatively small, meaning that at any given second only a fraction of 1% of set-top boxes are tuning (i.e., switching channels) at all. Before the break there is some tuning going on, but the tunes in and out are generally about matched. This is probably ordinary channel surfing “noise” that is unrelated to the specific programming on this network. Set-top box data can help better understand the reasons why the audience is changing the channel.

In addition to other signals, second-by-second data can be helpful in understanding viewer response; advertisers can see whether viewers are responding positively to their ads or tuning away. Thus, advertisers can make better decisions on what ads to run in order to reach their target audience.

Posted by Deeksha Hebbar, Associate Marketing Manager for Google TV Ads