How ANA's Marketer-Led Initiative Is Reinventing Cross-Media Measurement

By Nathalie Bordes

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"How many people has our ad campaign reached? And how often have they seen our ad?"

Answers to these seemingly easy questions have eluded advertisers for years now. Despite efforts from marketers, agencies, measurement vendors, and media partners, the constantly evolving and increasingly complex consumer media behaviors have outgrown the current media measurement ecosystem.

In an effort to solve for this, the ANA, ISBA, and WFA have convened a global collaboration of marketers, platforms, and vendors to create the global/common components of a new measurement blueprint. The ANA co-chairs the common technical work, which is being tested and, if necessary, adapted to ensure full functionality in the U.S. market.

The ANA Board of Directors has declared this measurement solution a top priority in the U.S. As a result, the ANA is spearheading a local, marketer-led cross-media measurement coalition consisting of leading brands, digital platforms, and media partners. The objective of this initiative is to launch a full-scale integrated pilot built on a privacy-compliant infrastructure that captures all ad impressions and content across TV and digital data sources.

The ANA Cross-Media Measurement (CMM) Initiative is working toward a system that:

  • Is complete, transparent, and without bias
  • Enables always-on data collection and is representative of individual consumer behavior
  • Supports all media channels and global platforms
  • Delivers reliable impressions, as well as true reach and frequency metrics
  • Has clear, standardized definitions for data and metrics across all media
  • Is consistent with global principles and compliant with Media Rating Council (MRC) measurement standards

Offering full transparency, large parts of the technical design are being created in an open-source setting under the advisement of the MRC to secure compliance with the Cross-Media Measurement Standards.


Overview of Privacy-Compliant Measurement System

In the setup stage of the two-phased measurement blueprint, a privacy-compliant double-blind panel match is done with publishers' first-party data to apply a non-persistent Virtual ID (VID) and to train the publisher-specific VID models. VID is an identity graph that assigns impressions to demographic or behavior profiles without connecting the actual data.

In the measurement stage, the VID model will be applied to the publisher's full data set to label all impressions in a consistent manner with these virtual IDs. Privacy sketches are applied to ensure total privacy-compliance before the dataset is submitted to the reach and frequency calculator for final reporting.

Here's a simplified illustration of the blueprint:


Overview of Privacy-Compliant Measurement System

The setup phase.
The measurement phase.

Since moving out of the general planning phase earlier this year, the ANA CMM Initiative has made substantial progress:

  1. Launched component pilots in which three tightly connected workstreams are operating in parallel toward the scalable integrated pilot: Input/Outputs, Virtual ID and Privacy Sketches, and Data Flow
  2. Expanded the ANA team by bringing in additional experts for CMM
  3. Progressed TV discussions and held a series of meetings with VAB and TV networks
  4. Brought additional organizations to the CMM coalition

The component pilots are focused on testing each aspect of the measurement system with carefully selected vendors to integrate the findings into the larger product plan and share learnings with the global WFA group to guarantee full alignment between common and U.S. workstreams.

The next couple of weeks will move toward key milestones:

  • The ANA, together with key partners to be announced shortly, is launching the first series of experiments to assess how Virtual IDs work, specifically with U.S. TV data
  • Starting a workstream with VAB and Open AP to scope TV integration as well as contextual content and qualitative solutions in CMM
  • Defining panel requirements and vendor selection processes to work toward a panel test and final vendor selection for the integrated end-to-end pilot
  • Scoping MPC requirements with relevant vendor assessments to ensure a full data flow test can be finalized before the integrated pilot

CMM is accelerating toward an integrated end-to-end pilot that will test the full system with best-in-class vendors and marketing campaigns in early 2022. This full-scale test will allow marketers and their agencies to validate the system against their use-cases and finally answer the seemingly easy questions:

"How many people has our ad campaign reached? And how often have they seen our ad?"