P&G's Measurement Cornerstones

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, September 22, 2021

With the advertising and media industries wrestling with “crossmedia measurement,” the second day of the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) annual Audience x Science Conference Tuesday opened with Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard recommending cornerstones needed to address this Gordian Knot -- and other advertising concerns -- with a call-to-action for constructive disruption.  

Pritchard said he expects the industry leaders to be bold and step up with innovations to essentially reinvent media and advertising measurement. 

Those of us who have been fortunate to have worked closely with P&G immediately recognized the unequivocal consumer-centric approach around which Pritchard built his remarks. This includes ensuring consumers have the privacy, content/programming, and brand information they need and expect.  



In other words, whatever the issue that needs to be addressed, treat it in a way that ultimately serves the consumer.  For the media and their evolving measurement, this means driving a superior communication experience.  

As a doyen of our business, Pritchard underscores that advertising is still about reach and frequency, how many, how often, how effective, and how efficient? He stated that understanding these dimensions for all its brand target groups requires independent, third party, certified, accredited, measurement that produces accurate, objective, and transparent metrics across all platforms.  

And of course, these approaches and data must be oriented to driving a complete experience for the consumer. Not really asking too much?  But so on point.

P&G has consistently led the charge on media measurement and is continuing to do so via the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) so-called “Cross-Media Measurement” initiative.  So-called, because this ARF conference appears to have concluded that outcomes -- including attention measures -- are not media measurements, per se, due to the relatively stronger influences of the brand, the creative and the target audience on these measures.  

Pritchard did indicate that marketers must lead the way with funding (Ed Papazian will be delighted!) and that the WFA initiative will be best served by collaboration across all industry sectors led by the major industry associations, notably the Association of National Advertisers ANA and ISBA(Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) in the U.K.  

The vital importance of this initiative is its potential to accurately de-duplicate target audiences across diverse media platforms.  This will not only help understand overall multimedia campaign reach, but also to understand and meaningfully remove excess frequency -- which he called the “annoying part” of advertising for the majority of consumers.  

Anticipating the commingling of different datasets to fulfill the objectives of the WFA’s initiative, Pritchard recognizes the importance of anonymous interoperable consumer IDs and suggested that a cohort’s approach maybe a means to ensuring consumer privacy and providing the basis for de-duplication.  

Karthik Rao, COO of Nielsen Global Media, reiterated the critical importance of tracking the consumer’s media journey to de-duplicate an audience for reach and frequency estimates.  In addition, he noted that dealing with privacy “restraints” required by consumers -- and inclusive measurement of both content and ads across all platforms -- were paramount.  

Overcoming these issues with diverse, integrated databases and approaches -- which likely include high quality panels -- is an undeniable challenge.  However, Nielsen’s “impact” data via a complex integrated approach will represent consumer video behavior across channels in the U.S. early next year.  This release will be eagerly awaited.  Perhaps the industry should be judicious with any judgements on its validity.  This is “hairy” stuff and will inevitably need ongoing refinements.  

Based on extensive research underpinning, “Unlocking the New Currency of Attention,” Joanne Leong, vice president-global media partnerships at Dentsu, offered a fundamental reminder to the industry: “Human attention is not the same as viewability – being ‘MRC viewable’ does not mean eyes-on ads.”

She also echoed that creative is the primary driver of the effects of attention and outcomes from the previous day.  Ed Papazian, John Grono, and I have stressed this numerous times.  So, has everyone got that? 

5 comments about "P&G's Measurement Cornerstones".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 22, 2021 at 10:43 a.m.

    Tony, did Marc say how much money P&G was prepared to spend anually to fund a suitable---though of unspecified design---TV rating service?

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, September 22, 2021 at 3:37 p.m.

    No $ amount.  According to my notes he did suggest that marketers should lead the way in collaboration with all major industry segments including the large industry Associations.  The juxtaposition of the industry media measurement JIC's (outside the US and around the world)  with the WFA initiative is intriguing.
    As you would recall, it was P&G that attempted to start an industry TV measurement service  here in the US many years ago. 

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 22, 2021 at 3:42 p.m.

    Tony, I don't recall a P&G attempt to initiate a new TV rating service. Are you referring to Gale Metzger's SMART project of roughly 25 years ago? If,  so, I worked on that one and my understanding is that it was funded by the three broadcast TV networks.

  4. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, September 22, 2021 at 4:08 p.m.

    No.  I beleive it was right before Gale's initiative but maybe right after it was closed down.  Someone in the industry will remember.  It was lead by a really agressive P&G Marketing Director as I recall but never really got off the ground. 

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, September 22, 2021 at 6:24 p.m.

    Thanks for the coverage of the ARF's AxS conference.   One day I will get there when it is safe to travel again.

    I think that there could be underlying expectations that everything that can be measured should be measured, and that everything that should be measured can be measured, under the banner that we need to reinvent media and advertising measurement.   The cost of precision is exponential, and getting supporters on board for that journey would be a Herculean effort.

    I fully agree that the consumer must be at the heart of the measurement system.      The problem is defining what do we mean by 'the consumer'.

    To a TV broadcaster it is the viewer, to a radio station it is the listener, to the press publisher it is the reader, to the billboard owner it is the commuter/shopper, to the internet company it is the online-user.   The list is virtually endless.

    To the marketer it is the coffee drinker, the car buyer, the fashionista, the beer drinker.   That list IS endless,

    It is folly to expect that we will have such granularity.   In fact the only way we would even approach such granularity is a panel of 7.8 billion people as every consumer is different in some way.   And of course that will never happen for a plethora of reasons.

    So folks, we will still need panels for media usage, strongly augmented by media owner first party data to derive some 'fit-for-purpose' audience metrics.   The deeper you want to dive into the data for granularity, the bigger the panel needs to be - which has massive cost implications.  The key is that the media metrics have to be on an equivalent basis - i.e. viewing thresholds of certified viewing (rather than just an impression served), or it is a waste of time and finances.

    And equally importantly, that doesn't even take into account the role of the creative in the marketing/advertising message, which IMHO is crucial.   A bad media plan can derail an advertising campaign, but even the greatest media plan cannot save a bad ad.   And I know which is the more cost efficient path to improving marketing outcomes.


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