Accountability, Efficiency, Privacy: Understanding The Value Of Cross Media Measurement

By Aqilliz  

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For years, brands have measured the efficiency of their advertising in isolation — one metric for digital, another for print, and others for TV and radio. The result? Inefficient data silos that offer little to no insight into a consumer’s overall journey. With growing levels of segmented viewing, longstanding questions such as how many users have engaged with a particular piece of content and how much of the audience is actually duplicated across the different platforms, have mostly gone unanswered — until now.

Since 2019, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has been seeking cross-industry consensus to deliver both a framework and technical solution to give advertisers a much greater understanding of the impact of their advertising, and now, the industry is finally on the cusp of a new era for cross-media measurement.

Why does it matter?

As audience consumption changes, advertisers will need to increasingly run integrated campaigns across different media channels — and as more and more platforms get added to the mix, ad viewing will only get more complicated and non-linear. The industry is now in a situation where marketers are spending billions of dollars every year without knowing how much of that money has gone toward hitting the same audiences repeatedly, or how much exposure one media channel receives over the other, for a particular campaign. Studies have found that only 40 to 60 percent of digital dollars programmatically invested by advertisers find their way to publishers in the form of working media and audience ad exposure opportunities. This is not only massively inefficient for brands, but also massively annoying for the consumers being bombarded with the same ads.

To address these pain points, the industry has been collectively working towards a cross-media measurement solution that can enable advertisers to increase efficiency, boost campaign effectiveness, and improve their ROI. With effective measurement, advertisers will be able to maximise the use of their marketing budgets by determining true, unduplicated reach and frequency. Rather than wasting advertising spend on impressions that drive diminishing or even negative value, they can instead invest in the channels that really drive results. This is particularly relevant in the current climate, where advertisers are faced with additional budget constraints.

At the same time, cross-media measurement would also improve the customer experience by enabling frequency capping, which could ensure that they are not being constantly targeted by the same ad across different media channels — potentially addressing one of the key motivators behind ad blocking.

How would it work?

The WFA’s real-world technical proposal for a cross-media measurement solution would need to meet the principles of transparency, neutrality and auditing outlined in their framework. These requirements include full life-cycle measurement across planning, reporting, and optimisation, comprehensive measurement across TV and digital, and respect for consumer privacy. While this framework was developed globally, it is being tested at a local level by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) in the UK and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in the US.

A prototype of the platform, known as Project Origin, is currently in development, with the aim to produce a real service that marketers can trial sometime next year. The proposed solution utilises a panel and census approach to give advertisers far greater understanding of the reach and frequency of their campaigns across TV and digital media, including video and other formats. Leveraging a Virtual ID and differential privacy methods, the solution aims to preserve privacy and prevent the double-counting of impressions across media, and while remaining compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

What’s next?

It’s not going to be immediate, but we’re making progress — cross-media measurement requires a complex infrastructure of components and data, which will take time to refine, implement, and roll out across the globe. The end goal is to introduce efficiency, prevent expenditure wastage, improve ROI, and attain a true understanding of reach and frequency in terms of content consumption by the end-user. This would require generating a proper understanding of how customers travel between media and their multiple devices. Validation efforts will place particular care and focus on how traditional data will be accurately reconciled with digital data, ensuring that the priorities of advertisers are met while taking a privacy-first approach that is well-suited to the changing digital media landscape.

With the aim of eliminating wasteful ad spend and remedying the issues currently plaguing the supply chain, the ANA will also be conducting a study to provide the first full analysis of the end-to-end programmatic marketplace in its entirety. In line with our mission to deliver greater value to the marketing ecosystem, Aqilliz has submitted a proposal to ANA with recommendations on how to bring more clarity, consistency, and accountability to the programmatic supply chain. Through this, we hope to support the industry-wide efforts to improve transparency in the digital media buying ecosystem.

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