The topic of audience measurement has been hotly debated for many years. Whether it be the debate about how accurately a media property can measure its reach, how many people in Australia REALLY use the internet or how many people were touched by the message of a campaign. For equally as long, the evangelists of online marketing have sung the praises of the medium because it is so measureable. The challenge is that although as a medium, it is infinitely more measurable than any other medium, there is no consistency in that measurement. No common currency on which the media can be bought and sold and no universally agreed standard for counting eyeballs.
Sometimes it seems like we tie ourselves up in knots worrying about the exactness of the number and lose sight of the reason why we care. Is online the right channel to reach people, what is the right place to put our message and do the people who will see it even care. Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is whether or not we can measure that.
Increasingly, marketing activities demand accountability. Did it work? In order to assess this, we need some sort of yardstick. Statistics and measurement are our only tools for assessing this but just as it is difficult to compare two lengths when one is measured in imperial standards and the other in metric, the current inconsistencies in measurement make any true comparative assessment of reach or effectiveness pretty hard to do.
Our industry, as it has matured, has turned more and more focus on developing a unilateral standard around this topic. I spoke to Monique Perry from Nielson who promises that a consistent measurement currency is very close to launching in Australia so perhaps we are starting to see some light at the end of this tunnel.
The challenge however still remains that whether or not we can decide on a consistent way to measure the audience on one site, or even the web universe as a whole, how can we measure the cross platform effectiveness.
Measuring the interactions between platforms remains a problem. Although we have agreed currency around TV and radio audiences and by integrating these with a standardised online measurement tool we will get half way there, it does not solve the entire problem. When we start to consider other online channels such as social media, mobile, email and outdoor, the measurement task becomes even more complex. When we decide we want to look at how the interactions between platforms may have a multiplier effect on a consumers propensity to respond, measurement of this becomes almost impossible.
It is always an interesting area of debate and one which is a constantly evolving. The ad:tech panel have certainly got their work cut out getting to the bottom of this and I’m looking forward to hearing what they’ve got to say. Here are the panel details:
Wednesday 17th March The Evolution Of Audience Measurement
• How do we get a fixed method of measuring and reporting online audiences?
• What are the steps towards cross platform audience measurement: can we get a true view of the consumers’ activity
• Beyond reach and frequency: how do we move to measuring advertising effectiveness, not audience numbers
Session Leader: Megan Brownlow, Editor, Entertainment & Media Outlook, PriceWaterhouseCoopers
Registration closes Friday 12th march 5.30pm. Register now.