ANA, 4As, IAB Release Digital Measurement Principles

New York, NY—Three key ad industry associations—The Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the 4As—this week released their Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement, five principles that the trade groups described as "the foundation of making measurement make sense."

The principles are part of an industry-wide initiative being facilitated by consultants Bain & Company and MediaLink.

The principles are:

Principle No. 1
Move 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.

Principle No. 2
Online 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.

Principle No. 3
Because 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 (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 Web sites
  • 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.

Principle No. 4
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.

Principle No. 5
Digital media measurement must become increasingly comparable and integrated with other media.

  Measurement solutions must facilitate cross-platform planning, buying and evaluating of marketing and media. This is a substantial issue that hampers analysis and decision-making throughout the ecosystem.