This conference really lived up to its name. Two hundred people from all around the world, including a heavy European representation, a good number of U.S. companies and a wide variety of other areas from Egypt to China. Major research and analytics vendors like comScore, Nielsen, DoubleClick, Atlas, Insight Express and TNSgallup were there. Many agencies were represented as this is "their" conference, although the underwriters are the various trade organizations including the IAB and the various worldwide flavors of same as well as the various advertising associations around the world (35 in all, though notably, the ARF and the AAAAs were NOT in attendance but the MRC was there in the person of George Ivie). In addition, a great number of metrics companies that I was not previously familiar with, like Gemius, Spring, MetrixLab, wunderloop, Attentio and Nedstat, were in attendance. The U.S. trade press surprisingly took a pass.
The goals included setting the direction of measurement. The conference lasted three days and was jam-packed starting at 9 a.m. (early for Spain) and going past 6 p.m. most days with few breaks.
So what did we talk about?
We talked about engagement. Best quote was from Nate Elliott of Jupiter who said that "engagement is a tactic, not a metric."
We talked about the frustration of agencies in having no vendor providing true integration solutions and how agencies are building their own due to the lack of a unified industry solution. They are concerned about the "Tower of Babel" that results from this, a phrase that was uttered more than once from the stage and over coffee.
As is common at a research meeting, everything was up for questioning including "What is a medium?" Should we be including trade shows?
Rick Bruner (DoubleClick) and John Chandler (Atlas) gave a great update on Attribution Management, a far superior term to Multiple Attribution Protocol, which we have been using. DoubleClick will start to include natural search as well as paid search in its tracking. Rick and John talked about how fully 71% of search clicks are navigational (people who have seen other messages and are using branded search to get someplace). They opined that about half the cost of a campaign is navigational. And reinforced that conversion goes up 22% if you add a display component. A lot of work needs to be done on this -- but major factors in conversion appear to be frequency, multiple sites, recency, ad size, richness of creative and reach/the quality of reach.
A major point of discussion was the MIA project. which is the Worldwide Audience Currency System (WACS). They are talking about not a single currency, but transparency between. Like $ for yen or gold for oil.
The discussion of differing languages and terms was music to my ears. One example is the misuse of the term reach. Some takeaways on this: There needs to be a universal glossary. We need to get back to basics and learn what other media have already defined (see reach above) and we need to look to the future and determine what definitions will be required in the digital space.
More next week in this space about the MIA project and other issues uncovered at I-Com.