Posted March 1, 2011 2:02 pm by with 3 comments

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Three top advertising trade agencies are banning together to work on a new initiative they call “Making Measurement Make Sense.” What they want to do is work out a new standard for measuring the success of digital advertising that can be used across the board.

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) announced their new initiative at IAB’s fourth Annual Leadership Meeting, Ecosystem 2.0: The People vs. Data.

According to their press release, “Making Measurement Make Sense” has three primary objectives:

  • Define standard metrics and measurement systems that are transparent and consistent to simplify the planning, buying and evaluating of digital media:
    • Analyzing the current digital measurement situation from a business perspective
    • Defining a common currency for measuring online exposures
    • Developing generally accepted standards for brand impact measurement online
    • Creating an effective methodology for cross media measurement
  • Drive industry consensus around the solutions:
    • Gaining stakeholder input and driving consensus around the solution
    • Engaging industry leaders to champion the measurement process
  • Establish a measurement governance model which encompasses:
    • Creating a structure for an ongoing measurement governing body
    • Establishing a governance and standards-setting process
    • Developing an implementation plan for the roll-out of metrics, standards and management structure

Nancy Hill, President-CEO of 4A’s says;

“The leading marketing and media trade organizations have united to spearhead an ecosystem-wide solution to many of the critical issues in measurement. The confusion in this area has added costs to advertising agencies, which have been forced to use, subsidize and staff around increasing numbers of metrics and data in order to plan, purchase and post-analyze their media buys. This initiative will streamline and simplify those processes.”

The question here is first, do we need a new system of measurement? For years, people have been saying that counting clicks is worthless. But what other options are there? How can we effectively measure engagement if not by the response to an action? TV and radio commercials manage it. No one clicks on the TV, yet we’ve found a way to properly charge for ad time and measure the results.

With mobile, tablets, and in-car computers, we’ve come a long way from the days of the punch the monkey banner ads. And with the work being done with 3-D and QR codes, it seems like only a matter of time before print ads will pop out of the page to present a hologram image of a product. How will we measure the effectiveness of that?

The bigger question is, can they come up with a system that works for all forms of digital advertising and can they get people to use it? When they talk about a plan for the roll-out of the new system it reminds me of when the US tried to go metric. It seemed like the right thing to do. The rest of the world was working in kilometers and meters, so we should be, too? But years later, most of us are still talking about feet and inches and we cook with cups and teaspoons. Will switching to a new digital measurement model be any easier or more effective?

What do you think? Time for a change? Can we change? And do you have any thoughts on how we can better measure the success of digital campaigns?

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