Wise women and men from across the marketing ecosystem agreed that an ad impression, as a metric for exposure, must be defined as a viewable impression. The reason is simple: brand advertising is based on the notion that the delivery vehicle for the ad must provide an “opportunity to see.”
Some of you may be asking why digital ads have not been providing this opportunity all along. The answer is simple, too. The technology needed to serve, see and measure viewability was not ready. Converting to a viewable impression currency is not simple. It takes new technology, testing, resources and business process change. At this point, the marketplace is rapidly moving to the critical moment when the currency will switch. At the end of this quarter, when the Media Rating Council completes its work on the viewable impression standard, currency for display brand advertising will actually be a viewable impression.
But the work of 3MS is nowhere near complete once that transition takes place. Once we can measure and transact on viewable impressions, we can start counting across media, using equivalent units of exposure. And then, once we develop a standard for digital media reach (GRP), we can develop a standard for cross-platform reach (GRP).
In so doing, we can then count how many unique (unduplicated) people in a given demographic or market segment saw an ad how many times across media Like viewability, the standards for GRPs will be overseen by the MRC. Some initial work on this front has already begun.
Assuming that we can measure exposure and count across media platforms, we still need to provide a deeper understanding of how specific advertising campaigns work. As devices, content creation and consumption proliferate, basic counting is simply not enough. New opportunities to build awareness, reposition brands, drive trial and loyalty, etc., will emerge.
As a result, the need to fully understand what drives consumer relationships to brands and where to dial up and down on a media plan will be more important than ever. This is where the notion of engagement metrics that matter comes into play. We are no longer limited by screens and formats.
We should not be limited by the wrong metrics, nor by metrics that are generated simply because the technology permits it. This is why 3MS calls for identifying metrics of interactivity that build brands. What is unique about interactivity that differentiates the brand advertising experience? We started by investigating engagement. Cognitive, emotional and behavioral/physical involvement with advertising off and online on different devices are part of engagement. A new paper was released last week to serve as a baseline for future standardization work.
We know that the industry is anxious to see all that 3MS is offering take hold. But what can we expect in the near term and foreseeable future? Viewability will be implemented soon. GRP standards are coming on the heels of viewability. Standardization of engagement and brand advertising metrics will begin. Dollars will move across media as dictated by the needs of brands to create consumer experiences that build their businesses.
It’s imperative to make mobile measurement make sense. As all media go digital, metrics and systems will be in place to accommodate the transformation. Fragmentation and unique experiences will continue to proliferate. That means that both counting correctly and measuring how advertising works, will be even more vital.