A few weeks ago, I attended the ARF conference in New York, which I wrote about here. During the conference, executives from various platforms and a few walled gardens shared their points of view on the joint industry committee (JIC) effort under way. The conclusion was that the industry is not quite “joint,” but the effort has merit. I hope it succeeds this time.
This week the World Federation of Advertisers, the Association of National Advertisers, and the UK’s Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) announced the launch of the HALO Framework, which “incorporates an innovative set of technologies and software components that empower local markets to use data assets like panels, exposure events, non-census measurement data, and other inputs to create measurement reports that are available via a set of Halo APIs. The resulting measurement is intended to meet the needs of the most ambitious advertiser use cases, and the demands of media owners for content measurement.”
As I understand it, what HALO has created is a measurement framework supported by a set of software components that allows advertisers to ingest datasets as identified in the framework, which “produces privacy-preserving estimates of cross-media/publisher reach and frequency.” In other words: Feed the HALO beast the data, and it will produce an overall reach/frequency number across all efforts for which data was loaded.
That is big news.
As the saying goes: Money talks, and in the end, advertisers hold the purse strings. It is in advertisers’ best interest to ensure that advertising and media placement is effective. For the last few decades, ad-supported platforms have talked up the benefits of all the data they spin out. That data was there to help advertisers find their audiences, deliver the message with pinpoint precision, ensuring it reached the right people at the right time in the right context.
However, what we got instead was a fragmented mess of audience reports where the best an advertisers could do was add up “gross impressions.” Whether or not they are actual impressions is a matter for debate (spoiler: they are not), but “gross” is a very apt description, given the amount of retargeted overkill, bot-created frequency, and the black hole that is ad fraud
So if HALO does what it says it can, it should drive out some of the excesses, and should do so regardless of the platforms that make up the media mix. This should work, provided the platforms allow their data to be ingested. And that brings us back to the JIC discussion. The JIC has so far not been able to convince a number of key players to join (e.g., Apple, META, Alphabet, Disney). Perhaps the fact that in HALO, the advertisers (with the purse strings) want data access might solve the reluctance of some of the platforms.
The WFA, ANA and ISBA and their members deserve credit, and I am excited to see how the member test will work out.
Interesting, Maarten. But will HALO also be able to tell advertisers how many and what kinds of people looked at their ad messages and for how long----or are we held rigidly to that old standard---and very inflated "metric"----namely "impressions" based simply on the ad message appearing on a screen?