Unilever Is Working on a Cross-Media Measurement Model to Help Gauge Campaign Effectiveness

Google, Facebook and Twitter are all on board

Keith Weed, the CMO of Unilever, has been vocal in his desire for more transparency in advertising. Unilever
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Unilever is working on building a cross-media measurement model for measuring the impact of marketing campaigns across the advertising ecosystem, an ambitious project that will be the first measuring system of its kind.

The plan, which is aimed at better measuring who sees digital campaigns, the reaction to those campaigns and the impact of the campaigns, has the support of Facebook, Google and Twitter, representatives of which said in statements that they would work together with Unilever to help create a measurement solution.

The company has enlisted the World Federation of Advertisers to help spearhead the initiative. Measurement providers Nielsen and Kantar Media have also come on board to help with cross-media measurement, which consists of TV, digital and social media.

“To realize our vision of a more transparent and high-quality digital ecosystem, our partnerships have been, and will remain, instrumental in developing an always-on, privacy-safe model for cross-media measurement,” Keith Weed, the CMO of Unilever, said in a statement. “We are hugely encouraged that our digital and measurement partners worked with us to enable these significant steps towards solving the challenge of holistic media measurement.”

The idea, as Unilever explains it, is to develop a model that will work with existing measurement tools to build a system that can operate across different markets and prioritize privacy concerns.

The initiative is one for which industry leaders have long advocated, as media measurement is currently splintered across traditional platforms like television and the ballooning digital advertising ecosystem, often with different metrics to measure success.

Building a new measurement model also seems aimed at addressing concerns that some tech and social media giants have been self-reporting the success of their platforms—the old “grading your own homework” phenomenon. Facebook, in particular, has been slammed for self-reporting numbers that were later found to be inflated; the company has since rolled out changes to its measurement system.

Unilever and Weed have been vocal in their desire for more transparency in advertising, particularly from big tech platforms. Less than a year ago, the company outlined a Digital Responsibility Framework, in which it said the company would not invest in platforms or environments unless they were “committed to creating a positive impact on society” and would only work with organizations committed to better measurement and who protected consumer data.

Externally, the initiative to establish a singular measurement model has the support of the big players in tech. Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp of global marketing initiatives, said in a statement that it was important that Facebook work toward a measurement model “that leverages independent third-party systems, protects privacy, and improves people’s experience with ads.”

And Matt Derella, Twitter’s head of revenue of operations, similarly advocated for the measurement tool, which he said will help marketers better calculate their ROIs across different channels, including digital.

“Regardless of where you stand in the industry, having cross-platform measurement is essential to driving monetization and growth,” Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s president of media, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to provide Total Ad Ratings measurement of Unilever’s advertising across platforms and are proud to support its efforts to drive standardization and adoption of cross media measurement.”

@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.