As part of Advertising Week, the American Association of Advertising Agencies hosted a panel titled “Media Measurement Priorities” that covered the joint efforts of leading industry entities to facilitate cross-platform measurement and to decide, as an industry, what media measurement needs to look like in this new media environment.
“What we have now really doesn’t fit the bill,” noted Louis Jones, executive vice president, media and data, 4A’s. “We need to have a collaborative point of view,” that also takes into account the needs of agencies.
From there, the 4As set out to coordinate the efforts of companies and organizations working on the issue and published a whitepaper titled "Media Measurement Priorities” as the first salvo.
The paper set the stage for discussion of the most important priorities from an agency’s perspective. The top five were: unduplicated reach; currency; short term versus long term; walled garden and identity graphs; and attribution.
Even for these top priorities, there may be flexibility in the solution. Take, for example, currency. Historically, the TV industry has transacted on a strict set of metrics for currency.
Yet, for Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group, “We are in a world that is complicated enough that if everyone had access to the right underlying data, different partners could agree to trade on different metrics and that would be okay.”
For Ed Gaffney, managing partner, director of implementation research and marketplace analytics, GroupM, the currency just has to be well understood, transparent and stable. “We can have multiple currencies,” he explained. “We have them now,” with digital and TV and even within TV there are a range of metrics. “As long as everyone knows how they are counted, and can use that data, for both sellers and buyers, it works well.”
For Gaffney, unduplicated reach is critical to address waste. But the barrier, according to Steuer, is that the measurement currency for TV “is based on volumetrics and not real humans” and is delivered, “on the aggregate and not the individual. We need a census to tie together and understand device delivery to actual humans.”
Other organizations besides agencies are deeply involved in the measurement discussion. George Ivie, Executive Director Media Ratings Council, explained the MRC’s two-year effort resulting in a brand new industry standard for video that was just released in early September.
This standard provides the framework for equalizing the exposures across platforms and de-duplicating it across some general principles.
The reaction from the industry was both accepting and yet guarded. Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research and Analytics Officer, CBS, noted that measuring, “viewability is a good thing. Nobody wants invalid traffic. Duration is important. But the devil is in the details. Implementation versus theory -- there is a big gap there.”
If you ask me, an effort that has created the foundation for the trans-corporate cooperation today has been through CIMM. This organization has been working on universal content labeling to help stitch together content on various platforms and devices through Ad-ID and EIDR.
Without a UPC-like code, there is no industrywide way to insure that content is accurately being captured wherever it airs. "It is an evolving time in television and we don’t have a granular, nationally representative impressions-based TV measurement system in place right now,” because the data is siloed behind walled gardens and not shared, explained Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director, CIMM.
But, as there is strength in numbers, the first powerful step has now been taken. “The tech environment innovates. Technology improves. The standard is a first step in a long journey,” Ivie concluded.