Measurement in Programmatic

Viewability & Measurement

Measuring the performance of programmatic ads –

From an audience on-targeting perspective


The marketer’s million-dollar question - what is defined as a successful programmatic campaign? How is the media budget bringing value to the business? 

Clare Lui, Vice President, Nielsen Media Hong Kong Limited
Clare Lui, Vice President,
​​Nielsen Media Hong Kong Limited


Clare Lui, Vice President at Nielsen Media Hong Kong Limited discusses with Oliver Choi, Associate Director at GroupM and IAB Hong Kong Programmatic Committee, how to Measure the performance of programmatic ads from an audience on-targeting perspective. 








Under the influence of COVID-19, Hong Kong, like many markets out there, experienced quite some impact on the economic front.  As business sentiments weakened, marketers in general exerted more caution when it came to making advertising decisions. 


Despite all the uncertainties in the marketplace, digital advertising seemed to be able to remain strong, reporting a mild drop of just 3% in the first half of 2020 vs. the same period of last year.  Indeed, programmatic continues to be the go-to means of audience buying and more programmatic vendors have been used than ever.


In face of the increasing use of programmatic, how do brand marketers ensure efficiency and improve ROI?


One of the methods is to analyze the On-Target Percentage (OTP) which is a key metric used in measuring digital campaign performance.  This metric primarily indicates the percentage of impressions that have been delivered to marketers’ target audiences, by age and gender.


It is worth noting that in general, programmatic advertising reports a lower OTP (60%) than the average across all site types (67%).  To complicate things further, a rather fluctuating OTP pattern has in fact been identified for programmatic advertising.  If we refer to Illustration below which shows the top 9 most popular audience groups for key campaigns, we will notice how fluctuating the average OTP by month can be for individual audience groups.


Source: Nielsen Media Hong Kong Digital Ad Ratings, from June 2019 to Aug 2020
Source: Nielsen Media Hong Kong Digital Ad Ratings, from June 2019 to Aug 2020


What does all these mean to marketers? Does a below-the-average OTP which at the same time brings fluctuations across audience groups imply a non-performing targeting strategy? The answer is not really.  A lower-than-average OTP can simply be a result of using prioritized targeting that is non age and gender related.


Programmatic advertising allows marketers to target audiences at a granular level; targeting can be done by using different perspectives, such as audience interests, purchase intention and psychographics.  Through the use of relevant segments, more audiences from different age and gender groups can be targeted on top of what is originally planned for.  And depending on the nature of the product to advertise, OTP can be used as a benchmark to decide what targeting strategy is most effective for a marketing campaign.  Compared with a campaign having a low OTP but a high ROI, another campaign having a high OTP but a low ROI could indicate that the non age and gender orientated targeting is more efficient for it.


Of course, OTP is but one metric.  For marketers to grasp a more thorough understanding of campaign performance, they should also look at resonance which is a direct and easy way to find out whether a marketing campaign has contributed to brand lift, if at all.  It is only through analyzing and understanding different campaign metrics that marketers can truly maximize campaign performance and hence ROI.      



About the IAB (Hong Kong)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (Hong Kong) empowers the media and marketing industries in Hong Kong, to  thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 100 leading media and technology  companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital campaigns.  Working with its member companies, the IAB (Hong Kong) evaluates and recommends standards and  practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. 


The IAB (Hong Kong) Programmatic Advertising Committee

The Programmatic Advertising Committee is focused on evaluating the value and potential of Programmatic  Advertising. This includes evaluation of the programmatic advertising ecosystem and terminology,  disclosure principles, ad performance evaluation, opportunities/obstacles by platform, scalable/custom solutions, consumer perceptions, messaging and more.


Please address any questions or comments about this document to 

Alvina Chan, Secretariat Office, IAB (Hong Kong) -