Media Execs Agree on the Need for Better Measurement for Fragmented Audiences

4 pain points on advertising and attribution

The media industry wants better measurement. Getty Images
Headshot of Sara Jerde

As media executives at CES gathered in hotel suites to broker potential deals in the months to come this year, Adweek caught up with some of them about pain points they have with the advertising industry, and the very deals they were trying to make during the world’s largest tech conference.

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

M. Scott Havens, global head of digital and media distribution at Bloomberg Media
The issue of third party [data]. We need to settle, as an industry, where are we going with this. We [have] browsers making changes, regulation coming in from different areas. There are concerns about the validity of that data anyway—that third party data that everyone’s been using for ad targeting. It always means opportunity to us. It’s just going to take a little time to get it. That’s the gray area. And that’s like the whole supply chain.

… there are so many powerful and wonderful things about digital advertising, attribution measurement, all that stuff didn’t exist before. We don’t need GRPs (gross ratings points), demographic surveys, and samples. We can actually tell how many people saw that ad. That’s wonderful. You can really tell you get away from “50% of my advertising is a waste and I don’t know which half.” We can get away from that, theoretically; we’re just not there yet. We’re still in the early innings.

Ryan Pauley, chief revenue officer, Vox Media
I think the one unintended consequence of the privacy changes is it will make measurement and attribution even more fragmented than it already was, not only for digital, but also for OTT and for cross-platform measurement. And that’s where we’re putting a lot of emphasis and energy for ourselves and with partners around how to solve some of those challenges and how to create a standard such that there’s a single view. Measurement and attribution are going to be pretty tricky throughout 2020 given the measurement and the policy changes that will make that a little bit more difficult in what was already a very fragmented space.

Iván Markman, chief business officer, Verizon Media
Fragmentation is an important pain point—if you’re trying to engage your consumers, across all of the possible ways that you could, of all of the different channels from print to radio to all of the digital components, and it’s still super siloed. This is why, for us, we’ve been focusing so much on trying to do this omnichannel view. When you think about toddler all the way to super mature, I think the industry’s still in toddler mode.

Brian Sugar, president, Group Nine Media
From a consumer perspective, when I show up on a website and all the content pop ups that I need to navigate through to get to the content, and then they’re like, “Oh, you still have to pay for it” but all I have to do is open up an incognito window and I can still see the content for free, those shenanigans—around login and buying the content—seem like there’s like a lot of friction around it. I would gladly pay for it if it was super easy and I didn’t have to go through all those like pop ups and whatnot. It’s like an obstacle course to get to the actual content. So, I want to see that removed from a consumer perspective.


@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.