ARF's McDonald Addresses Industry's 'Crisis Of Confidence'

Scott McDonald, the newly minted CEO at the Advertising Research Foundation, told attendees at the group’s annual gathering in New York today that under his watch the organization would launch a number of research-focused initiatives and would push for higher quality measurement standards. 

McDonald said there is a “crisis of confidence” regarding the accuracy of much of the measurement in today’s complicated media landscape. The ARF intends to play a role in alleviating that uncertainty, he said.   

It’s no secret that many marketers are dissatisfied with the current state of measurement or at least some facets of it. Just last week, the ANA demanded that so-called “walled garden” platforms such as Amazon, Foursquare, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter allow independent audits by the Media Rating Council. 



McDonald gave a nod to the last two CEOs of the organization -- Gayle Fuguitt and the late Bob Barocci. Barocci rescued the group from insolvency and put the ARF on more sound financial footing, McDonald said. And Fuguitt expanded the membership base to include more advertisers and companies in the tech sector. 

Those accomplishments, McDonald said, would allow the organization to focus on the group’s “true north’’ — research projects that will advance the advertising and marketing sectors. 

Ad fraud remains a huge issue, said McDonald. And there’s more work to be done in better identifying non-duplicated audiences. More work is also needed in the areas of attention, engagement and emotional response to advertising. 

McDonald -- named the ARF’s new CEO just two weeks ago -- is a highly regarded research veteran who has run research operations at big media companies including Conde Nast and Time Warner. More recently he ran Nomos Research, which he started after leaving Conde Nast in late 2014.


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