Recently I wrote about attribution modelling, and my views on taking a pragmatic approach to measurement rather than searching for a silver bullet solution, and this week measurement has come into the headlines again with the World Federation of Advertisers announcing their attempts to establish an industry wide framework for media measurement, both on and offline.
The framework, created by a group of global brands and advertising associations aims to address the needs of both Advertisers and the Industry. And it is backed by the likes of Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Facebook and Google so it definitely packs weight. But is their stated aim achievable? or more importantly something which is going to significantly impact media measurement?
A Question of Incentive
Firstly, I should point out that their objective is a noble one. And if achievable would significantly change the face of media planning and measurement. It is something as a media professional and advertising technology enthusiast I would love to see succeed. However the realist in me says there is limited chance of it becoming anything more than a watered down framework advertising providers sign up to, but means little for the actual measurement element.
The main reason I feel this ways revolves around the incentive for anybody to fully embrace an end to end, transparent, cross media measurement approach. Lets look at the individuals involved and the potential outcome of such a system:
- Digital channels currently claim sales they know where initially driven via offline brand activity. Brand search, post impression Facebook, direct website visits all gain on this basis.
- Offline channels trade on their brand impact and a lack of measurability. They tell advertiser they drive awareness and other channels take the credit, whilst rarely having to prove it.
- Advertisers really want to be able to measure more effectively so they have incentive, however they are mostly interested in their own advertising spends, not making collective improvement to the market.
So in reality nobody is particularly incentivised to deliver on the stated aim. On top of this, a number of large players hold the keys to its success. Without Google or Facebook it won’t work, and they don’t tend to play fairly.
So where does it end? Like many frameworks and industry wide initiatives. Watered down proposals which allow the big players to continue to do as they please and claim their share of the pie, whilst claiming to be ‘compliant’.
What do you think? Am I being to harsh? Can the WFA succeed?