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Charting the course for third-party cross-media audience measurement

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The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) estimates that marketers waste $15B in ad spend annually in the US alone, due to lack of comparable cross-media audience measurement. As an industry, we’ve arrived at a crossroad. We have the opportunity to come together to solve cross-media measurement for marketers, agencies and consumers or we can head down a path of creating new measurement silos, inconsistent standards and unnecessary complexity.

For YouTube, the solution is straightforward — the industry should agree on, adopt and adhere to common principles in any third-party cross-media audience measurement solution. We’re siding with marketers who need to measure reach across all platforms, regardless of the content creator, video length or camera quality. This will improve consumer ad experiences and help marketers and agencies drive much needed efficiency in their media investments.

We propose five principles that, when adopted, ensure solutions can meet marketer needs and improve consumer ad experience. In short, we believe that any third-party cross-media audience measurement solution should be:

  1. Comprehensive: Measurement must provide a unified view of audiences across TV, CTV/OTT and online platforms.
  2. Fair & Comparable: We should use the MRC viewable impression as the basis for counting impressions, reach and frequency, and report other metrics, such as duration, separately.
  3. Privacy-Centric: Only solutions that are privacy-centric can meet consumer expectations and be durable for marketers long term.
  4. Independent & Trustworthy: Solutions should be publisher agnostic, marketer-oriented, with transparent and auditable methodologies.
  5. Actionable For Advertisers: We support competition and choice in measurement, while avoiding unnecessary complexity and costs for advertisers and agencies.

This work is foundational. Whether your goal is brand awareness or specific outcomes, accurate impressions, reach and frequency counts are a critical input. To that end, we’re asking our partners across the industry to:

  • Adopt clear principles. Use a principle-based approach when engaging with measurement providers and solutions. We believe these principles are aligned to marketer needs, and reflect the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and ANA’s north star visions, which will create a fair ecosystem.
  • No new silos. Audience is king, so measure it all on a fair and comparable basis. Don’t silo video inventory based on arbitrary concepts like production value or curation.

We’re committed to this vision, so that marketers and agencies can see a complete, honest picture of where their audiences are spending time. And yes, we believe our products will speak for themselves if we’re counted accurately and compared fairly in this environment.

For our part, you can count on us to:

  • Meet marketers where they need us. You’ll see our continued engagement in the WFA, ANA and Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA)’s cross-media initiatives; ongoing investment to support our agency partners; and close partnership with the third-party providers marketers rely on. We’re also sharing practical ways to bring these principles to life.
  • Support the third parties our customers use to capture a full view of the audience while respecting user privacy. We’re actively partnering to help third parties solve marketer needs in a privacy-centric way, and evolve their solutions to be reflective of how audiences consume media today.
  • Engage with broadcasters and other publishers. We welcome our sell-side peers to join us in this approach. When it comes to third-party cross-media audience measurement, our needs are more alike than we might think. Accurate, privacy-centric, fair measurement benefits us all.

The industry’s focus on third-party cross-media audience measurement is at an all time high. Now is the time to act with focus and energy to evolve audience measurement. If we don’t seize this momentum to rally around marketer needs and adopt clear principles in third-party roadmaps, we all stand to lose. Marketers and agencies won’t be able to drive efficiencies or improve consumer ad experiences. Publishers will also not be measured and compared accurately and fairly.

“Marketers of all sizes insist on a measurement system that is objective, independent, transparent, neutral, and third-party verified and accredited by MRC. ANA’s CMM is based on these north star principles, and we support YouTube’s approach to aligning and advocating for these principles.”
— Bill Tucker, Group EVP, Association of National Advertisers