The Release of Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement have been announced by ANA (Association of National Advertisers), IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), and 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) this week.  The new 5 principles are described as “the foundation of “Making measurement make sense” initiative.

“For the first time in the history of Internet advertising, business leaders and functional experts from leading marketers, publishers and agencies have come together to jointly develop a plan for improving digital media measurement.”, said Bob Liodice, president and CEO, ANA.

Making Measurement Make Sense has three primary objectives:

  • Define transparent, standardized and consistent metrics and measurement systems to simplify the planning, buying and selling of digital media in a cross-platform world;
  • Drive industry consensus around the solutions;
  • Establish a measurement governance model to support ongoing standards development, ensure compliance and manage change in a rapidly evolving media climate.

These five principles are the foundation of Making Measurement Make Sense:

1. Principle IMove to a “viewable impressions” standard and count real exposures online.Today we count “served impressions” as recorded by ad servers.  Often, ad units are not in a viewable space to the end-user or fail to fully load on the screen – potentially resulting in substantial over-counting of impressions. Viewable exposures are increasingly the norm across other media and better address the needs of brand marketers.

2. Principle IIOnline advertising must migrate to a currency based on audience impressions, not gross ad impressions.Brand marketers target specific audiences. Marketers need to understand the quality and number of exposures against their targets – and the respective reach and frequency of such exposures.  The existing digital currency makes this extremely difficult.  Moreover, the practice of selling ad impressions makes cross-media comparisons extremely difficult, if not impossible.

3. Principle IIIBecause all ad units are not created equal, we must create a transparent classification system.Unlike traditional media, which have a limited number of inventory types (e.g., 30-sec spot, full-page back cover), digital has a myriad of units. A transparent classification system will:

# Reduce complexity from a creative standpoint;

# Simplify the comparison of ad units across websites;

# Enhance the ability to track how different types of ad inventory drive different outcomes;

# Facilitate planning and evaluation across media.

Making Measurement Make Sense advocates a transparent classification system, adhered to by all publishers. Such a system will enable marketers to identify and spotlight the best offerings for brand building, and for other marketing objectives.

4. Principle IV Determine interactivity “metrics that matter” for brand marketers, so that marketers can better evaluate online’s contribution to brand building.Currently, the industry is awash in digital interaction metrics. However, these metrics are not necessarily relevant for brand marketers.  Aside from click-throughs, there are few standards for enabling reliable comparison across sites.  The industry must identify and define the specific metrics most valuable to brand marketers and define and implement reliable standards for existing metrics.

5. Principle VDigital media measurement must become increasingly comparable and integrated with other media.Measurement solutions must facilitate cross media platform planning, buying and evaluating of marketing and media.  This is a substantial issue that hampers analysis and decision making throughout the ecosystem.

“Now that industry leaders have defined Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement, the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative is refining and vetting concrete means of advancing these measurement principles,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP Industry Services, IAB. “The process of developing recommended solutions and communicating a detailed implementation plan is expected to be completed this summer.”