WFA lays out its go-forward plan to standardize cross-media measurement


After holding two closed-door forums during Advertising Week New York, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has made public the first steps of its plan to standardize measurement across media.

Led by the likes of Unilever, Mastercard and EA, the newly formed Cross Media Working Group is looking to hasten adoption of a consistent, global measurement solution without having to take a different approach for each market.

“Meaningful cross-audience measurement represents a step-change for marketers in understanding the impact of their marketing investment,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive officer of the WFA. “But with great promise comes great complexity so there are many challenges to work through.

“Our first goal is to identify the global principles that can help accelerate the adoption of cross-media measurement, enabling more individual markets to adapt a common platform while also reflecting local market custom and practice.”

The WFA is building its standard around four key principles. First is privacy, as the WFA said that data sharing among all parties must align with existing and emerging privacy regulations.

Second is the infrastructure itself, or the pipework of components and data connecting, for example, TV panels with other sources to define unique audiences.

Third is to create a standard definition for the metrics used to create like-for-like comparisons among media. The WFA does not yet know whether it will establish a single definition or several.

Fourth is governance, a decision-making system to ensure objectivity, protect privacy and decide who should be the measurement provider.

The WFA said next steps include interrogating and stress-testing the principles it has developed.

“The goal is to establish consensus and move the debate along before handing over to those closer to implementation to take the next, critical steps. The more work that can be done centrally to aid markets and marketers, the better,” said Loerke.

Unilever has already taken its own efforts to push for measurement accountability, calling on its publisher partners to work with third-party verification companies.

“As part of Unilever’s Responsibility Framework, we are committed to building responsible infrastructure,” said Luis Di Como, Unilever’s executive vice-president of global media. “Cross media measurement is a critical component that allows us to have real transparency of media performance, assessing unduplicated reach and impact across publishers, platforms and screens in a privacy-safe way.”

Facebook, Google and Twitter are involved in the initiative, as well as NBC Universal RTL Group. Also involved are the ANA (US), ISBA (UK), ACA (Canada), OWM (Germany), Swedish Advertisers and Union des Marques (France).

“For too long the industry has continued to create siloed measurement solutions proprietary to specific platforms, publishers, media type or geography,” said Belinda Smith, head of global marketing intelligence at EA. “This cripples marketers’ ability to gain a true understanding of the unique reach, penetration and impact of our marketing investments. We can no longer accept this level of gratuitous fragmentation in today’s data-driven marketing landscape.”

The Media Ratings Council is also participating in the initiative, as its recently released cross-media measurement standard was a key reference point for the WFA.

“We’ve been talking about cross-platform media transparency through cross-platform media measurement for far too long,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer. “It’s time to get on with it and this is a positive step in the right direction.”



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