Advertising groups pledge digital metrics standards
Three major advertising groups are pledging to solve the longstanding digital media measurement challenge with standard metrics, a common currency for online media exposure and a governance model to manage it all.
The groups – the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) – yesterday announced “Making Measurement Make Sense,” a broad-based initiative to redefine digital metrics with an eye toward cross-platform measurement standards.
“The supply chain is messy and inefficient,” Sherrill Mane, SVP of industry services for the IAB, said during a press conference at the IAB’s annual meeting in Palm Springs, Calif. “Fundamentally, we need a supply chain where planning, buying and evaluating are transparent and consistent.”
Standards for measuring online ad exposure and brand engagement have remained elusive since the dawn of the browser-based Web in the early 1990s. Buyers and sellers often count ad exposures differently, and service providers offer a variety of different platforms and models for measuring advertising reach and effectiveness. The backers of the new initiative maintain that there’s an increasing sense of urgency – and a strong commitment on their part – to finally fix the problem in order for the industry to grow.
“This is about fundamentals,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. “If you don’t get the fundamentals right, you can’t really progress with a level of precision in your decision-making to build your brand and build your business.”
The initiative has three main objectives:
- Defining standard metrics and measurement systems to simplify the planning, buying and evaluating of digital media, including a common currency for measuring online exposures, standards for brand impact measurement, and a methodology for cross-media measurement
- Driving consensus around the solution through input from and engagement with companies across the entire digital supply chain
- Establishing a governance structure to oversee the standards-setting process and maintain the quality of standards as they evolve.
“What we’re talking about is common sense, but it’s not common practice,” said 4As executive vice president Mike Donahue. “The industry has been reflecting on this for years, but this initiative has a bias to action over reflection.”
The initiative will formally kick off next week, and the group expects to make tangible progress by the end of this year. “We expect to come up with something concrete – metrics and currency – in the 6-8 month range,” said Liodice.
The groups say their goal is not to throw out existing metrics – it’s to find better ways for existing solutions to work together. “We want to incorporate all the good work that’s already been done,” said Mane. “But there has to be fundamental agreement across the industry that the metrics that are core to planning, buying and evaluating are defined in a consistent and transparent way.”