Trade groups take on measurement issues

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Three leading advertising trade groups have banded together on a broad initiative to address the challenges surrounding digital metrics and cross-platform measurement. The American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers and Interactive Advertising Bureau announced the launch of the “Make Measurement Make Sense” initiative at the IAB's fourth Annual Leadership Meeting last month in La Quinta, Calif. The groups have engaged management consultancy Bain & Co. and strategic advisory firm MediaLink to work on the project. The aim is three-part: 1) Define standard metrics and measurement systems to simplify the planning, buying and evaluation of digital media; 2) Drive industry consensus on those definitions; and 3) Establish an ongoing measurement governing body. “It's a process that will create an efficient supply chain,” Sherrill Mane, IAB senior VP-industry services, said at the news conference announcing the initiative. “The supply chain is now messy.” ANA President-CEO Bob Liodice, said, “The current state where we are isn't working. The impression isn't cutting the mustard.” “This initiative starts in the digital space, but it doesn't end there,” Michael Donahue, exec VP of the Four A's, said, noting it will address other platforms as well. “What we're talking about is common sense, but it's not common practice.” Donahue said the need to tackle measurement issues had intensified with the rapid growth of mobile and online video. “This initiative has a bias to action, not a bias to reflection,” he said. Liodice said it should take six to eight months “to come up with something concrete.” In an interview later, he said what prompted the measurement initiative was “frustration, absolute frustration.” “Our marketers have said time and again that the capabilities of the measurement systems that we have in the ecosystem are relatively weak,” he said. “There is less commonality than we'd like. There's less standardization than we'd like.” Liodice said the rise of search marketing, mobile marketing and social media, which are not easily measured, had made marketing mix modeling ineffective. “We decided that the only way we were going to get something done is if we put a full-throated effort against this in a way that would comprehensively address the situation,” he said. “It was not something that happened overnight. It took a year to perhaps almost two years to get to the point where we can stand here today and say we're going to proceed forward with this project.” In other action at the Annual Leadership Meeting, the IAB and Mobile Marketing Association unveiled Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines. The Media Rating Council assisted in the development of the guidelines, which provide a framework for governing how ad impressions are tallied on the mobile Web. The guidelines provide a definition of mobile Web ad impressions and create a common methodology for counting them. They also encourage third-party audits of impression counts. “More than anything, the guidelines demonstrate the mobile industry's commitment to its marketing partners to create a transparent and consistent business environment for buying and selling ads,” MMA President-CEO Greg Stuart said in a statement. “Brands and their agencies will be further encouraged to devote resources toward marketing campaigns unique to the mobile Web—reaching customers at critical times in the purchase cycle, enhancing brand relationships or providing critical information through mobile marketing.”
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