While the vast majority of advertisers have policies "requiring" or "requesting" media to use pre-approved measurements as the basis of their advertising buys, many turn a blind eye when dealing with big digital media suppliers, especially Google and Facebook.
While that's not necessarily a shocking finding, the research being released today by Advertiser Perceptions comes at a time when regulatory scrutiny is peaking for big digital media platforms, including some antitrust reviews for at least one of them: Google.
The research, based on interviews conducted in July with 200 advertiser and agency executives who are big buyers of media, found that more than a third (35%) do not require Google to adhere to their pre-approved measurement requirements, while 25% turn a blind eye when buying Facebook.
The finding isn't surprising, because Madison Avenue has long bemoaned the "walled garden" nature of the big platforms, which effectively create a black box when it comes to attributing advertising results in a transparent way that advertisers and agencies can see and analyze on their own, but the data also reveals a "long tail" of diminishing leverage across the media landscape.
While only 11% of ad execs said they don't require YouTube to utilize approved measurement, the percentage declines across Amazon, Twitter, Hulu, LinkedIn and ultimately even further among "traditional" media. Not represented in the chart below are CNN, Meredith, NBC and other media outlets that were cited by less than 5% of respondents as not requiring them to use approved measurement as the basis of their ad buys.
The Advertiser Perceptions research also affirms that the ad industry is at a "crossroads" with regard to media measurement, and that it is increasingly shifting away from conventional media performance metrics like exposure and media-related actions to "performance" measures like sales lift.
The study indicates that the continuing erosion of browser cookies as a means of identifying and attributing ad exposure to consumers is pushing advertisers and agencies more in that direction too.
“Google and Facebook reset expectations for measurement over the past decade, and now they’re reaping the benefit,” Advertiser Perceptions Executive Vice President-Business Intelligence Justin Fromm states in the report, adding: “Because their reporting summarizes compelling ROI metrics that agencies and CMOs can use to validate investment, many advertisers give them the benefit of the doubt.”