Marketers Demand Better Web Metrics

Ford, Kimberly-Clark, Pepsi, Visa Call for Online Audits

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- "If you want more ad dollars, we want more accountability." That was Madison Avenue's message to web publishers yesterday as a group of top-tier advertisers insisted sites provide them with audited metrics by mid-2007.
Marketers are banding together to demand more accurate -- and audited -- metrics from the websites they advertise on.
Marketers are banding together to demand more accurate -- and audited -- metrics from the websites they advertise on.

Third-party audit
A long list of marketers, including BMW of North America, Colgate-Palmolive, Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard, ING, Kimberly-Clark, Pepsi and Visa, said they'll no longer pay sites for ad impressions unless they've been audited by a third party. In addition, by 2008 they will insist that publishers have a third party endorse their processes for measuring ad-impressions as "consistent and reliable."

This is not the first time the industry has pushed web publishers to adopt consistent measurement standards. In late 2004, the Interactive Advertising Bureau announced Global Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines, which addressed marketer and agency concerns about the need for standardization. But, despite the participation of leading publishers such as Yahoo and the Walt Disney Internet Group, advertisers are pushing for more regulation.

"It is apparent for us to conduct business with those publishers who offer us the greatest level of validity and transparency," Brad Santeler, a Kimberly-Clark spokesman, said in a statement.

IAB's aggressiveness
The IAB has been aggressive in its pursuit of industry standards and professionalism. In May, the IAB issued broadband video guidelines, ruling that a video ad shouldn't be counted as "displayed" until its buffered stream has begun.

And in March, the bureau recommended that its publisher and agency members take a harder line with agencies that submit creative material late. In fact, the IAB proposed that publishers enforce original insertion orders by holding advertisers responsible for the media purchased. If the creative is not submitted on time, the IAB proposes that media companies run a public service announcement or house ad until the creative is received -- but still hold advertisers responsible.
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