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Ian Dowds 

It’s time to tag up and be counted

It’s time to tag up and be counted

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With the launch of Ipsos iris imminent, UKOM's CEO Ian Dowds weighs up some myths about publishers tagging for online audience measurement – and offers a few realities

The Crown on Netflix currently seems to be feeding a few myths around the royal family’s treatment of ‘outsiders’, and while it is undoubtedly great publicity for the show, it is, of course, impossible to know who really said and did what to whom.

The launch of Ipsos iris in just a few weeks as the new UK industry standard for online audience measurement has highlighted to me some of the myths around publishers and tagging. As UKOM sets and governs the industry standard, representing the many diverse interests of the media and marketing industries, this issue matters a great deal to us.

Ipsos iris has been designed by and for the media and marketing industries to provide more frequent and granular data of online audience behaviour. A key part of the solution involves the tagging of websites and apps. These tags ensure that all a publisher’s assets, including websites and apps, and their content - whether text, picture, video or audio - are measured across all devices and their audiences represented comprehensively to the marketplace.

Firstly, let’s deal with the myths.

1. The Ipsos tag will add to the site’s latency

NO. The Ipsos tag loads asynchronously alongside other tags that a site may be using, and load times are typically c.5 milliseconds (or as quick as one beat of a honeybee’s wings, according to Wikipedia!).

2. There’ll be privacy complications

NO. The privacy and protection of people’s personal data is, and always has been, a top priority for Ipsos.

Ipsos MORI has joined IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework. The iris data is used by the media and marketing industries for online audience planning and evaluation.

Ipsos and UKOM have no intention on feeding this data back to the online ecosystem or to share the device identifiers for the purpose of directly targeting these same devices.

3. The tagging process is complex and takes a long time

NO. Trevor Jones, audience measurement director at News UK says, “adding the IPSOS tags to websites is a simple, lightweight process.” Ipsos have been working successfully with a range of UK publishers on structuring their brands within Ipsos iris.

Tag implementation with other publisher developers in existing setups has been straightforward, whether directly onto a page or through Google Tag Manager (GTM) or other tag management systems.

Facing these myths stand a few realities.

Tag data reinforces Ipsos’ multi-faceted approach to measurement in an increasingly privacy centric world. These also include a GDPR compliant opt-in panel to understand passive user-centric behaviour and device fingerprinting for profiling behaviour across groups of devices.

Combining these data, Ipsos will create unique user profiles that allow understanding and de-duplication for all publishers of audiences across devices, web properties and apps.

The best way to get across the benefits of tagging is the least radical of all. Show, not tell.

As Trevor Jones says: “Full website tagging and app SDK implementation is a crucial compliance requirement for all newsbrands. It allows Ipsos iris to deliver full measurement across all devices, ensures maximum traffic levels are represented and so reflects a complete newsbrand market view of UK digital data.”

The launch of iris marks a significant step for online audience measurement in the UK. Developments include the delivery of daypart, daily and weekly data along with the introduction of interest-based audiences, beyond the traditional demographic splits.

For any publishers still to start the tagging process, don’t be left on the sidelines while competitor publishers gain an advantage. Tag up and be counted!


Ian Dowds is CEO at UKOM

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