The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has released a framework for cross-media measurement, what it calls the “holy grail” for marketers.
Given the fragmentation of media consumption, the aim is to manage how many times someone sees the same ad on all their devices, and then measure the results of those campaigns across all forms of media. In theory, this will help marketers better coordinate ad delivery across linear TV, online—including social platforms and mobile—and everything else in between.
Matt Green, WFA’s director of global media services, told Adweek that further testing of the tool, such as aligning it with regulations in local markets, remains to be done, but that needed changes are coming.
“Within a year or so from now, we could be looking at radically improved measurement,” said Green. “Measurement is just pretty flawed. … The industry desperately needs this.”
The group, whose members spend roughly $900 billion in marketing a year, first started discussions around a cross-media measurement solution in January 2019 and began working on the technology earlier this summer.
Trade orgs such as the Association of National Advertisers, ISBA and Media Rating Council, plus major advertisers such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever and PepsiCo are among the stakeholders that helped develop the measurement tool. Digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, are also participating in testing the product.
“Cross-media measurement is viewed as the ‘holy grail’ for marketers, as it optimizes marketing decision-making for driving business and brand growth,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of ANA, in a statement. “ANA has championed measurement development that is viewed through the lens of the marketer for several years. This collaboration with WFA, ISBA and other partners has been galvanizing as it provides the foundation to build local solutions to this highly complex issue.”
ANA and ISBA will be leading local efforts in the U.S. and U.K., respectively.
Green said one major challenge will be getting broadcasters on board, which seem to view the cross-media measurement standard as a “digital proposal.”
Traditional linear TV is typically traded on Nielsen data such as age and gender, not on audiences like in digital media. Plus, traditional linear TV isn’t internet-delivered, so connecting it with digital campaigns could prove difficult.
“TV has to evolve a bit as well, because you need to find more granular ways of measuring,” Green said.
WFA is introducing this measurement tool just as the novel coronavirus pandemic has hastened TV’s shift toward streaming, which would make comparing TV and digital campaigns easier.
The tool also comes as Apple plans to effectively make its mobile ad tracker, the IDFA, opt-out by default as it embarks on its iOS 14 rollout, which Green said would likely reduce the amount of consented impressions the measurement solution could use.
The solution assigns a Virtual ID to each impression, which are then captured, deduplicated and measured down to cohort levels.
Publishers and platforms put their first-party audience data in what’s essentially a privacy sandbox, or what Green refers to as a decentralized system. That census data is then calibrated against a panel, the size of which has yet to be determined.