Online GRP, here now? How?

Whenever I’m teaching a group on digital media and start exploring pricing models or measurement and get to the CPP or online GRPs, I always get asked, “what’s a point?” or “what’s a online GRP?”

My previous post explained what a GRP is, how to calculate it as well as how it gets priced.

Son invariably, the follow up question from digital folk in learning this is, “ok, what’s that got to do with me?”

It’s important to know because tools are now available to allow media buyers to plan, buy and report on digital campaign with the GRP metric. You might get asked if you can sell on GRPs in the near future and you do not want to answer “What is a GRP?” nor do any good sales person want to answer “I’ll get back to you on that.” You’d much rather know what it is all about, how it works and when is this coming within your organization.

Planning GPRs in online

The first step in applying GRPs to digital platforms is to be able to plan a campaign with them. At this time in Canada only comScore has a Reach & Frequency planning tool you can add to MediaMetrix and possibly MobileMetrix. This tool allows planners and buyers to determine how many GRPs against a specific demo and geography any number of impressions will generate on any given website.

comScoreOnline GRPs as calculated by comScore use the exact same math as do television and radio GRPs.  However, while TV and radio GRPs are for a specific program (date and time specific that is) online GRPs relate to the website’s month’s metrics (gross totals) and you cannot break down to specific days and hours. Further, where TV and radio GRPs can break down to a specific market like Montreal Central French or rolled up to the Quebec province (network) comScore only reports for regions (Quebec is a region in comScore). You can qualify your comScore audience with gender, age and language.

So they’re similar, but not the same.

Buying online media with Cost Per Point

At this time, very few online media vendors sell using the CPP, or cost per point, pricing model. In Canada, to my knowledge, only TubeMogul, a video centric DSP (demand side platform) does so. In the US, a few others allow this.

This is where online GRPs reach a limit where digital is concerned as it is next to impossible to buy them for specific demos.

Reporting a campaign’s delivered GRPs

So we can plan an online GRP campaign, but it is very difficult to buy one. How about reporting a campaign’s actually delivered GRPs?

comScore and Nielsen both have solutions to help you out there. Both involve a paid subscription for that specific service level. Both require you to include a piece of code, a tag, within your ad creative to track campaign delivery and intercept panelists in order to report GRPs against a specific audience and geography.

comScore vCEcomScore’s solution is called vCE or Validated Campaign Essentials which does much more than just track your campaign’s GRPs. It tracks ad delivery against its 40 thousand plus cross-Canada panel. It will report per age, gender and language groups per regional breakdown (BC, prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic).

NielsenNielsen’s solution is called OCR or Online Campaign Ratings. It tracks ad delivery against the Canadian Facebook user base (those that allow themselves to be tracked) of roughly 18 million (close to 60% of the entire Canadian population). It will report per age and gender groups as well as per specific market (I believe).


There you have it, if you really want to, you can plan, buy and report an online ad campaign using GRPs as your staple metric and CPP as your pricing model.

Where do we go from here? Note that Nielsen does not at this time have a GRP campaign planning tool available in Canada. They do plan to have one available at some not-to-far-off point in time. Also, I believe we should expect Canadian broadcasters who are familiar with GRPs to develop their own cost per points for specific demos and make this feature available to agencies and advertisers in the near future.

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