Comcast's Sky launches tool to track ad effectiveness in real-time

(Reuters) - UK media company Sky said on Friday it will partner with TV measurement firm TVSquared to allow advertisers to track whether their ads lead to sales and website visits, in an effort to retain advertising dollars during a coronavirus-inspired slump.

The ability to determine whether an ad shown on TV or streaming services directly led to product sales has long been a technological challenge for media companies. The new tool from Sky, a unit of Comcast Corp, to now provide this capability will help brands make the most of the money they spend on advertising, Sky said.

“There has never been more focus on this objective than in the last four months given the uncertain world we are living in,” said Dev Sangani, director of strategy and capability for Sky Media, the ad sales division of Sky.

Global ad revenue for traditional TV is expected to shrink 12% this year due to the postponement of major sports events, according to a report last month from media intelligence firm MAGNA Global.

Sky and TVSquared said the partnership will let Sky’s advertisers track in real-time whether their traditional TV and streaming video ads are attracting consumers’ interest and therefore leading to more traffic on their websites. Previously, advertisers might wait weeks to see reports about how their commercials performed, said Calum Smeaton, chief executive of TVSquared.

TVSquared will analyze ads by using its access to advertisers’ web traffic data and pairing it with Sky’s TV viewing data, Smeaton said.

Early data from the new measurement tool showed TV ads are more effective at getting customers to visit advertisers’ websites than previously thought, the companies said.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Lincoln Feast.