To help brand advertisers better measure and track their online ad campaigns, Microsoft on Thursday announced a collaboration with comScore to design a digital media-planning service. The Reach and Frequency Planner -- or RF Planner, for short -- was developed to help advertisers more easily determine and predict how consumers will respond to their digital ads.
The RF Planner uses a hybrid audience measurement method that combines Microsoft's ad-serving data with demographic information from comScore's panel. It will offer forecasted reach and frequency for online ad campaigns and comScore's post-buy reporting to show how closely the campaign performance tracked to the prediction.
"The perception that traditional branding metrics are not possible or meaningful for digital media is misguided," said Scott Howe, corporate vice president of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group at Microsoft. "We believe online advertising won't maximize its appeal to brand marketers until the basic metrics they've relied on for years are available in digital-media plans."
Microsoft and comScore argue that online advertisers have been hindered by the inability to measure digital ad campaigns with the same metrics used for offline campaigns. As a result, ad budgets for brand advertisers account for about two-thirds of the $186 billion U.S. ad market, while only 5% of those dollars are spent on Web advertising.
"Brand advertisers need the ability to evaluate reach and frequency by audience composition in ways that are actionable and accountable," said Gian Fulgoni, comScore co-founder and chairman. "This new hybrid approach to digital media planning offers the granular campaign-level analysis and streamlined planning capabilities upon which brand advertisers have long relied in the traditional media environment."
Microsoft said closed beta testing of the RF Planner will start immediately, with select unnamed advertisers participating.
This marks the second major deal this week related to Microsoft's online ad ambitions. On Wednesday, it announced a long-anticipated collaborative search deal with Yahoo.