The time is now for cross-media measurement

The time is now for cross-media measurement
Partner content

In a time where advertisers have to navigate an increasingly fragmented media landscape, the need for unified cross-media measurement has never been more critical. And there is no need to wait for it.

Since the advent of mass media, there has been a constant need to understand and optimise marketing effectiveness.

The emergence of national radio in the US in the 1930s coincided with the great depression, which led to radio stations having to rely on advertisers. To sell their newly created ad slots, audiences needed to be sized, profiled and valued, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward almost 100 years, and the age-old adage ‘you can’t buy what you can’t measure’ rings more true than ever.

Over recent decades, the digital world has flooded the industry with an array of new channels — from digital audio to social media and CTV to DOOH — which has led to more opportunities and excitement for marketers.

However, it has also led to an influx of new measurement methodologies, metrics and solutions, making it increasingly difficult to understand whether ads reach the right people and how different channels complement each other.

Quest for a single source of truth

Having a wide range of options to measure marketing effectiveness can cause difficulties in knowing where to focus.

Recent research from The Data & Marketing Association’s Effectiveness Databank shows that marketing effectiveness in 2023 fell below pre-pandemic levels for the second consecutive year.

The explosion of new marketing channels and the current economic situation undoubtedly impact consumers’ responsiveness and ability to purchase, which results in brand CMOs needing to prove and justify their media investments more than ever. Despite the availability of numerous metrics to measure marketing effectiveness, one that is, and always will be, a fundamental bedrock for any brand marketer is deduplicated reach and frequency. This is clearly highlighted by the significant industry investment aiming to achieve a single source of truth — Isba’s Project Origin.

Work on Origin began in 2019 in response to an initiative from the World Federation of Advertisers, which established a set of principles for a new approach to cross-media measurement. At its core, Origin aims to give advertisers deduplicated reach and frequency of their campaigns across different platforms. Key UK advertisers and media owners support the initiative, showing a real need to understand the audiences exposed to marketing.

Based on our decade-long experience in building cross-media measurement solutions across Europe, we at AudienceProject can certainly testify that this is no easy task.

Measuring deduplicated reach and frequency in a fragmented media landscape with increasing privacy constraints requires highly sophisticated technology with significant infrastructure, maintenance and subsequent costs. This, paired with differing objectives and agendas across the various contributors (especially regarding media equivalence), poses big ‘political’ challenges.

Don’t wait for ‘perfect’

The size of this task was made clear by Kantar Media’s (Origin’s panel provider) CEO Patrick Béhar when speaking at The Media Leader‘s The Future of TV Advertising Global event last December, where he stated that it would take between three and five years to solve the challenge.

Simply waiting for a standardised approach to cross-media measurement begs the question of why not use the comprehensive cross-media measurement solutions already available in the market. Not doing so not only leaves potential optimisation value on the table but is also detrimental to the industry’s progression. We believe advertisers must embrace existing solutions that help them understand and optimise their media investments today.

At AudienceProject, we advocate for independent and comprehensive, always-on cross-media measurement.

We already support advertisers in the UK and across Europe with insights on total and incremental reach across their different advertising channels, including open web, social media, CTV and linear TV (via deep, audited integrations to existing linear TV currencies, i.e. BARB in the UK), which is essential for making confident marketing decisions and reaching audiences more effectively.

Change is the only constant in our industry, and the quest towards optimal cross-media measurement is not over yet (and probably never will be).

In other words, don’t wait for a perfect solution to appear, but embrace the solutions that can support your growth and value creation today.

Paul Barnard is UK MD of AudienceProject

Adwanted UK is the trusted delivery partner for three essential services which deliver accountability, standardisation, and audience data for the out-of-home industry. Playout is Outsmart’s new system to centralise and standardise playout reporting data across all outdoor media owners in the UK. SPACE is the industry’s comprehensive inventory database delivered through a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution which delivers the ooh industry’s audience data quickly and simply into clients’ systems. Contact us for more information on SPACE, J-ET, Audiotrack or our data engines.

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