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Michaela Jefferson 

Global advertisers launch plans for cross-media measurement

Global advertisers launch plans for cross-media measurement

A group of advertisers including P&G, Unilever, EA and Mastercard have launched a new global initiative to establish principles that can underpin more effective and transparent cross-media measurement.

The Cross Media Working Group is made up of key brands from the World Federation of Advertisers' Global Media Board, as well as digital platforms and publishers including Facebook, Google and Twitter.

UK industry body ISBA and its US counterpart, the ANA, are also involved in the initiative, which hopes to speed up the implementation of more consistent measurement without having to invent a separate solution for every market.

“ISBA and its members are not alone in striving for independent, accountable cross-media measurement. To succeed, we know that efforts from all parts of the globe must come together to provide a single set of principles and standards that can be applied in individual markets," said Phil Smith, director general at ISBA.

"Given the fragmented nature of the audience measurement landscape today, it is vital that advertisers take the lead.”

The Cross Media Working Group aims to deliver on the challenges of third-party verification and measurement outlined in the WFA's Media Charter, published last year, which have been an ongoing source of advertiser "frustration".

Following recent closed-door discussions at Advertising Week New York, the group has identified four key areas on which to focus.

Firstly, data must be shared in a manner which is in line with existing and emerging privacy regulations.

Furthermore, decisions need to be made around how best to connect the complex infrastructure of cross-media measurement - for example, methods of audience de-duplication.

The group also noted that establishing consistent definitions and metrics to enable like-for-like comparisons between media will be necessary, which could involve creating a single definition.

Finally, decisions must be made as to how the system should be governed and funded, where the measurement should 'live' and who should provide it.

“We’ve been talking about cross-platform media transparency through cross-platform media measurement for far too long,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G's chief brand officer.

“It’s time to get on with it and this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Mediatel News asked ISBA if the UK Joint Industry Currencies, such as Barb, Rajar and PAMCo, would be involved in the project.

"It is being driven by the trade associations and the working party group. We are updating the relevant industry currency bodies at every key stage," said a spokesperson.

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The view of the IPA

By Belinda Beeftink, Research Director

The IPA is fully supportive of the WFA’s cross media initiative and indeed we have been talking to ISBA about this for some time.

Obviously, however, nothing like this is ever without significant challenges, which is why I think it is important to be clear in our understanding of how we frame this and move forward.

Firstly, the WFA talks about “cross-media measurement”. More specifically, what I think they mean is, de-duped measurement between broadcast TV and video. This issue here is that cross media measurement implies all media for which we have had a cross media measurement tool in Great Britain since 2006 – TouchPoints.

TouchPoints was specifically designed to bring together all media and allow for de-duped cross media planning across all channels including Broadcast TV and video. So, my first plea would be for the WFA to build on what we already have.

Secondly, we must beware the pitfalls of trying to find consistent definitions and metrics between media and at a global level. The danger here is that we may end up with the lowest common denominator, which will not serve us well and certainly not solve the problem of understanding what each medium or channel can deliver to an advertiser in combination with others.

Finally, there is the funding conundrum, which will need to be resolved. Audience measurement comes with an increasingly high price tag and we will need to bring media owners along with us if this is to be properly funded, resourced and regulated.

Whilst none of this is straightforward, there is real merit in setting principles towards an ultimate goal and we look forward to working with our industry partners to navigate the complicated path towards it.

As Leo Burnett famously said, "When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either."

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