Liodice: Digital Is The Least Accountable Of Media

Ironically, digital media -- once thought to be the most accountable media -- has turned out to be the least accountable, with viewability levels, according to some studies, hovering around just 50%. That’s got to change or advertisers will pull dollars off the table.

That’s according to Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, who spoke at the 4As Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Liodice said the industry must improve media measurement significantly. Marketers need and want to buy digital media, but the return on investment has been hugely disappointing. The ANA CEO cited some sources that estimate that for every digital dollar spent by a marketer, only 50 cents is applied to the media itself.

That’s one reason why Liodice and the ANA are pushing for an e-grp measurement standard that would include digital, TV, radio and print. That’s the “holy grail,” he said. “We need to have that kind of comparison because marketing is integrated.”



The cross-platform measurement standard would improve the precision of marketing mix models, Liodice said.

Gayle Fuguitt, CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation, said the biggest problem with measurement standards is that they “don’t keep up with consumer behavior.” Relatively new media, like social and mobile, are rapidly growing sectors in terms of consumer consumption, she said. “But we’re still learning” how to accurately measure that consumption.

Another problem, Liodice said, is that over the years, no single unbiased entity has been responsible for developing industry measurement standards. “There’s been a vacuum,” he added, which has allowed for-profit third-party entities like Nielsen and other vendors to develop standards over time, based on economic models that work best for them, but not necessarily for the customers that purchase their measurement services.  

The ANA is convening a “measurement summit” to discuss steps for change, Liodice said. Marketers need to take “control of the agenda and bring it in-house.” The summit would set priorities and a game plan for instituting needed changes.

5 comments about "Liodice: Digital Is The Least Accountable Of Media".
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  1. Nick Manning from Ebiquity, March 19, 2014 at 9:13 a.m.

    So, in a worst-case scenario, 50% of dollars may not reach the screen and 50% of what does hit the screen may not be seen. We can all do the math. If only 25% of TV commercials appeared, there would be riots, so why is this tolerated in online? And the measurablity makes it worse. Click-through rates, CPAs and CPEs will all be much lower than they should be. This must surely become a bigger concern for anyone advertising online, which is pretty much everyone, isn't it?

  2. Maarten Albarda from Flock Associates (USA), March 19, 2014 at 10:03 a.m.

    Funny that. I wrote about the exact same issues two weeks ago here on MediaPost under the title "Advertisers And Agencies: Do You Want To Be At The Table, Or On The Menu?":

    Including the bit about the need for an industry wide effort. Good for the ANA: take control, it is too important to leave it to the sales and research side alone.

  3. Mike Robleto from 4INFO, March 19, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.

    I think a definition of terms relevant to measurement/attribution are in order for our industry. The mere mention of measurement can include ROI, CTR, view-ability, GRP and most recently Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

    Having the 4A's jump in and define what is what on this latest buzzword would benefit many.

  4. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, March 19, 2014 at 4:54 p.m.

    As my brother Jeff would say: Marketing metrics never describe things that work for advertisers as much as they describe things that can be sold to advertisers.

  5. Richard Bennett from ImServices, March 19, 2014 at 5:11 p.m.

    It should be no surprise that there is a lot of non-viewable interactive advertising. Why if you look at most any site, there are ads all over the page. But any agency worth their salt will only pay pennies for the ads that are normally out of view. DUH! It will be interesting to see if viewability "fixes" this.
    On the subject of GRP's, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting what industry vendors will come up with.

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