To serve those marketers and media, the Advertising Research Foundation is on the case.
In 1994, two of ARF's founding organizations, Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, formed the Coalition for Advertising-Supported Information and Entertainment, and then came to ARF for consultation.
'HITS' OR 'EXPOSURES'
At issue is how to measure advertising impact on the interactive screen, online services and on the Internet. Is it, for example, the number of "hits" or requests received by an interactive service for a given display? Is it "exposures," the total number of times viewers see an ad?
To get answers, ARF put its research machinery into gear, explains Larry Stoddard, ARF senior VP-media research:
"We worked with CASIE in 1995 to develop the document they issued last fall, `Guiding Principles of Interactive Media Audience Measurement.'*"
CASIE's mission is to guarantee a key role for advertising in the development of interactive media.
GOING TO THE SOURCES
To bring as many views as possible to the discussion table from among advertisers, agencies, media and research companies, ARF has been sponsoring a series of interactive media workshops since last July, followed by a summit conference in October co-sponsored by Advertising Age and continuing in July 1996, with another summit in New York.
While continuing to counsel CASIE, ARF is tuning up its internal interactive operations.
"ARF is opening up dialogue on measurement of the new media," says Mr. Stoddard, "and developing guidelines for measurement. We are handling this through our Video Electronic Council and its new Media Audience Research Committee as well as ARF's Copy Research Council.
"The Copy Council is considering ways to evaluate interactive advertising," Mr. Stoddard explains. "The Audience Research group, chaired by Craig Gugel, a new-media specialist from Bates Worldwide, is inviting providers of interactive audience measurement to discuss their progress.
BRIDGE TO OTHER GROUPS
"ARF is asking other groups such as Interactive Television Association to build bridges to key players in interactive to find out what their research needs are."
Lying ahead are answers to questions long since answered for other media, Mr. Stoddard says. "Not just how do we measure advertising on the new media but how do we define ads on interactive, what constitutes creative, how do advertisers plan to buy and use time on the Internet?"