IAB Canada at the ARF Audience Measurement 9.0 Conference

Leadership in Cross-platform measurement and data analytics advances characterized the ARF’s A.M. 9.0 Conference, June 8-10 ‘2014, attended by Steve Rosenblum.

The New York based Advertising Research Foundation’s ninth annual 2½ day Audience Measurement conference took a decidedly fresh turn this year, a direct outcome of President and CEO, Gayle Fuguitt’s energetic first full year at the helm. I saw two key changes in this year’s event:

  • The ARF’s drive to bring together the research agendas of many disparate US organizations.
  • The massive increase in bleeding-edge cross-platform, digital and big data topics in panels and presentations.


1. Leadership:
Against the backdrop of this year’s Measurement Mandate theme, Gayle Fuguitt, previously VP, Global Consumer Insights for General Mills, repositioned the ARF as the best-positioned US industry body (“together we are all the ARF”) to lead the alphabet city of US organizations and initiatives – all actively participating in A.M. 9.0 (CIMM, CRE, 3MS, MRC, IAB, ANA, 4A’s) – towards collaborating on a unified agenda for funding speedier advances in multi-platform measurement and data analytics. Spending is soaring on data analytics and high profile panel members from these groups and top marketers like P&G agreed that we need to move faster, despite competing business interests/technologies and the cacophony of measurement needs. The ARFs 3 key measurement goals: cross media GRP, viewability across all devices, cross media ROI metrics.

2. Bleeding-edge advances:
The range of topics and debates reflected the huge scope of today’s real-time-marketing needs, as did the corporate leaders on the dais – Chief research Officers, Chief Revenue Officers and the like:

Cross-Platform Measurement and Deduping:
The number 5 was front row centre: ESPN unveiled its 5 Key Principles to optimize and sequence content across multiple screens (e.g. 2 screens seen simultaneously distracts the viewer); comScore tabled the 5 principles underpinning its announced Total Video Planning System, against the backdrops of (a) exploding mobile/tablet Video usage, (b) comScore’s goal of implementing mobile video measurement, (c) the huge video monetization gap/opportunity facing media companies and (d) the debate over whether programmatic trading of video is even desirable (Fox, Rubicon). Amazingly audience cannibalization has not accompanied mobile/tablet adoption because these devices can travel with us everywhere in/out of the home. Advances in Nielsen and comscore’s respective cross-platform and digital measurement initiatives were announced: e.g. Nielsen’s OCR is “built for big data”, comScore’s VideoMetrix 3.0. However individual campaigns still cannot quantify their unduplicated reach across platforms, hence cross-platform deduplication of multiple panel / census databases is a priority (comScore partnerships with ESPN, CIMM, NBC, Sony; Nielsen’s with CNN). Co-viewing measurement is another complexity that can expand viewing metrics.
A variety of other new learning was tabled such as: the effectiveness of targeting in-app ads against custom mobile personas like “Amanda” (Unilever’s head of insights).

Big Data is the New Bacon:
Digital investment continues growing despite ROI uncertainties: i.e. well over 80% of marketers have trouble measuring the ROI of social media or display (according to Facebook). Most marketers don’t have the resources and therefore expect their media partners to do the heavy-lifting in data analytics, to prove their respective worth (Post Foods). Two huge problems for predictive modeling are that: (a) “Online is just a big panel, merely the illusion of a census” (ThinkVine) and therefore not often replicable and (b) EVERYTHING matters to the marketer, but having monumentally more data does not guarantee better media attribution or spending decisions. So focus only on what you can do something about, i.e. data that is actionable (HavasMedia), such as optimal audience types, ad sizes and frequency at the customer level (Analytics Partners). The CRE (industry body funded by Nielsen) has undertaken to develop best practices for measuring long-term paid advertising ROI.

Near-Ubiquitous Address-ability:
70% of the Facebook audience can now be addressed with communications on a custom 1:1 basis, in order to reach primary purchasers on the mobile phone (according to DataLogix). The magnitude of the overall FB audience gives meaning to the term ubiquitous, given the pervasiveness of mobile phones in the population. The power of Facebook “Likes” was demonstrated as a descriptive population behaviour metric, that can “robustly augment marketing mix modeling”. Facebook’s Atlas presentation positioned the FB ID as successor to the cookie, stating that “frequency capping is ineffective in a cookie world because almost 3/4 people have more than one cookie”. The FB ID permits tracking of individual exposure across devices from one’s screen-switching along the path to purchase. Increasingly near-universal addressability by digital devices needs massive industry studies of purchase path, attribution & ROI. “To get smarter about (cross channel) integration, measurement must integrate” (Dunnhumby, Facebook).

Click here for the complete program of speakers and topics

Contact Steve Rosenblum with any questions: srosenblum@iabcanada.com