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Now is a key moment for agreement on cross-media measurement

Now is a key moment for agreement on cross-media measurement

The pressure for better cross-media measurement has been building and now is a key moment to agree on five common principles to meet marketers’ needs and improve the consumer ad experience.

Take a moment to consider what you watch and how you watch it. Like me, you’ve probably changed your viewing habits quite a bit in recent years and while we are watching as much video as ever, we are doing it across an increasingly wide range of platforms, content types and devices.

As our viewing has become more varied, measuring what we watch has become a challenge for advertisers with excess frequency a particular concern.

Not only does over-exposure limit our ability to deliver the most efficient campaign reach, it creates a negative experience for consumers with the AA’s report into Trust in Advertising recently identifying ad bombardment as the number one factor that causes distrust.

We’re also seeing this reflected in brand sentiment, with Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, recently outlining that a lack of high quality cross-media measurement means that consumers are seeing too many ads in his recent address to the US Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

The ANA estimated that in the US alone this adds $15bn to annual marketer costs and addressing this issue represents a significant opportunity for advertisers.

As an industry it can be challenging to adapt to the new realities of today’s fast-adapting consumer but the pressure for better cross-media measurement has been building and now is a key moment.

To meet this challenge, a range of industry stakeholders across the globe are looking for the best approach and as an advanced advertising market, the UK is at the forefront of the debate with solutions from Kantar, Audience Project and Nielsen all looking to progress cross-media measurement.

We’ve also seen Barb expand its measurement beyond TV and we welcome their move to measure ‘what people watch’ in the UK, including YouTube.

We believe it needs to be based on a comprehensive measurement of all video across devices and platforms.

Our recently released Mirrors and Windows study on UK viewing habits, found that people now believe that watching content that is relatable to their passions and interests is what matters most in determining what they watch.

So if consumers are changing their view of what constitutes good content, then as an industry we need measurement solutions that reflect this new reality to maintain relevance and accuracy for advertisers.

The UK is also unique in being one of the first places globally where the World Federation of Advertisers’ open-sourced solution will be realised in the form of the ISBA-led Project Origin.

This ambitious project has strong support from UK advertisers and agencies and its objective to address marketers’ need for better cross-media measurement is one we support. This will be a key year for the project as it expects to enter beta trials ahead of a full launch in 2024.

The benefits to the industry are clear but how we progress and which standards get applied in the solutions that emerge will determine how effective they are in solving the core marketer challenge.

We believe the industry needs to agree on, adopt and adhere to common principles in any cross-media audience measurement solution and today we are sharing our perspective by proposing five principles that, when adopted, ensure solutions can meet marketer needs and improve consumer ad experience.

In short, we believe that any third party cross-media audience measurement solution should do the following:

Comprehensive solutions

It is our belief that cross-media measurement tools should reflect a comprehensive view of how consumers watch all video across all platforms and devices.

Using fair and comparable metrics

There is a need for common definitions to be adopted and we strongly support the MRC viewable impression standard as the basis for reach and frequency in  cross-media measurement.

Preserving privacy for all

We believe that cross-media measurement should be conducted with the strongest possible focus on preserving privacy for all.

Independent and trustworthy

Third parties play a critical role and we highly value them in the ecosystem.

When assessing a cross-media solution we will consider whether its methodology and governance processes enable transparent and objective measurement that is marketer orientated.

Delivering actionable insight

The next generation of tools and solutions must be focused on solving the challenges of advertisers and agencies and reducing complexity.

The UK has a history of building gold standard solutions which puts us in an exciting, frontline position to grasp the opportunity to drive progress in this area.

Using the principles outlined above, we look forward to continued consultation with advertisers, agencies and partners to work towards effective, high quality cross media measurement becoming a reality.

Phil Miles is YouTube’s UK MD of sales.

IAN DOWDS, CEO, UKOM, on 20 Mar 2023
“Hi Phil, it is frustrating that articles are still written about audience measurement in which there is no differentiation between content audience measurement and and ad campaign measurement. At least one of your principles (the second, with its 'viewable impressions') applies only to ad campaigns. There's some interesting stuff in here but, like Brian, I too am frustrated by the lack of clarity in both the terminology and, subsequently, the real focus of your article. There's references here to multiple organisations with an interest in measurement (Ad Association, ANA, P&G, ISBA, Origin and Barb and others - Kantar, Nielsen etc) but cross-media measurement is NOT the same as cross-platform measurement or, as Brian points out, cross-device video measurement. And audience measurement (commercial or otherwise), which you reference directly and for which UKOM provides for the UK industry industry across PC, tablet and smartphone, is not the focus or priority of Origin or the ANA - while ad campaign measurement is.”
Brian Jacobs, Founder, BJ&A Ltd, on 20 Mar 2023
“It may seem pedantic but there's a huge difference between cross-media and cross-video. One is a subset of the other but they are not, as this piece suggests the same thing. To put it another way, non-video media forms (not to mention non-advertising media channels) do exist, are important and do need to be considered. Not to do so is misleading. We should be really clear in the terms and definitions we use.”

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