Rahul Sachitanand
Sep 17, 2020

WFA says it has cracked cross-media measurement

The organisation unveils a framework and a proposed solution, tested in the US and UK, that aims to give advertisers a better overview of how and where ads are being viewed across multiple media and devices.

WFA says it has cracked cross-media measurement

After more than 18 months of work, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has unveiled an advertiser-centric framework for cross-media measurement and a proposed solution designed to give advertisers a much greater understanding of the reach and frequency of their advertising efforts.

The proposal was developed in partnership with digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, and will now be tested in the UK and US, with industry bodies ISBA and the ANA, respectively, leading the efforts.

The WFA worked with national advertiser associations over the past 18 months to create the framework, which identifies advertisers’ cross-media measurement needs, as well as the principles that advertisers believe all solutions should be bound by. This has involved cross-industry consultation with advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, measurement companies and platforms. 

“Advertisers have long struggled with poor quality data that doesn’t allow them to properly assess how best to invest their ad budgets across multiple platforms and media," Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA, said in a media statement. "This body of work provides a blueprint to build a cross-media measurement solution that responds to advertiser needs.” 

Alongside this framework, the WFA is also publishing a real-world technical proposal for a cross-media measurement solution that meets the principles outlined in the framework, including transparency, neutrality and auditing. This has been developed in partnership with digital platforms and discussed with the industry. It utilises a panel and census approach (via publisher logs) to give advertisers far greater understanding of the reach and frequency of their campaigns across TV and digital media (including both video and other formats), according to the WFA.

WFA's proposal leverages a Virtual ID (VID) and differential privacy methods to preserve privacy while preventing double-counting of impressions across media. Consumers will also benefit by not being unintentionally targeted by the same ad across different media channels, potentially addressing one of the key motivators behind ad blocking.

The proposal acknowledges that measurement is a local business and requires considerable local governance alongside the need for some global components to drive consistency and scale. Any aspects of the proposal that require bespoke technology will be open-sourced, the organisation said. The proposal has been tested via an international open comment and peer review exercise earlier this summer, organised by the WFA and involving several hundred of the industry’s most prominent measurement professionals.

Now, national advertiser associations, and ISBA’s cross-media measurement group, ‘Origin’, and the ANA will independently explore how the components in the proposal can be adapted to suit local stakeholder needs, ahead of implementation in their respective markets. Validation efforts will place particular emphasis on how TV data will be integrated with digital data within the proposal. Both initiatives will focus on ensuring the priorities of advertisers are met while also taking an approach that reflects the needs of broadcasters as well as the changing digital media landscape.

Several other markets and organisations are also looking closely at the components in the proposal, with a view to possible implementation on the back of the US and UK work, the WFA said.

Other organisation and brands involved in the work include Union des Marques (FR), OWM (DE), The Media Rating Council, Deutsche Telekom, Mars, Mastercard, Nestle, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever.

“We need complete, open, transparent and future-proofed cross-media measurement to enable consumers to have a better viewing experience with less annoying repetition, advertisers to be confident that their media budgets are being invested effectively and efficiently, and media companies to be rewarded for delivering high levels of reach and engagement," Kanishka Das, senior director of global media analytics and insights at Procter & Gamble, said in the statement.

Other industry leaders such as Ben Jankowski, senior vice president of Media at Mastercard, indicated that piecing together this offering has been a long and complex process, with all parties dealing with not just technical challenges, but also "breaking down barriers that have been established by decades of legacy ways of working." To really work, in each geography, a lot of work needs to be done to bring it to life.

While the offering is being tested in the US and UK, marketers and advertisers need to surmount different challenges in local markets to make the cross-plaform solution effective, reckons Norman Wagner, head of group media at Deutsche Telekom. “Cross-media measurement is a global topic that needs to be answered locally, as every region has different starting positions and demands... (this solution) has the potential to be adopted around the globe and enrich independent local measurement ecosystems,” he added. 

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