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Citing a lack of transparency and archaic methodologies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has initiated a campaign to press comScore and N…

Citing a lack of transparency and archaic methodologies, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has initiated a campaign to press comScore and Nielsen/NetRatings to submit to a third-party audit of their audience measurement processes. In a letter to the two companies, Randall Rothenberg, the new IAB president and CEO, notes that the industry has complained of discrepancies in the measurements for years. He reserved particular scorn for the use of panels to represent the actions of a larger population of consumers, a method he says stretches back to the 1930s. “To persist in using panels that potentially undercount or ignore the diverse populations that are the future of consumer marketing is to deny marketers the insights they need to build their businesses,” he writes. In an attempt to come up with solutions everyone can live with, the IAB is asking that both comScore and NNR obtain audits of their technologies and methods by the Media Rating Council, though he concedes the services have rejected requests for such audits as far back as 1999.

For the purpose of beginning the dialog, Rothenberg said his starting point in negotiations with comScore and NNR would focus on a census-based method, which he said would let marketers eliminate waste, media companies realize a fair price, and advertising agencies target audiences and analyze their campaigns more effectively. Release (Includes Rothenberg’s letter at the bottom.)

Ad Age: Last August, marketers such as BMW, Colgate-Palmolive, Ford Motor, Hewlett Packard, ING, Kimberly-Clark, Pepsi and Visa, called for impressions to be audited and accredited. The marketers set a deadline of 2008 for publishers’ ad impressions to be audited by a third party. It’s not clear what progress has been achieved on that front. When asked whether it was likely to bridge the gap between panel-based measurement and one the census format, Sheryl Drazien, SVP at the IAB tell the magazine that we’ve got to hope for the ideal and work toward something that makes sense for the industry and the business. At the end of the day with the internet there are new advances that we’re not seeing being incorporated into how measurement is done. If they keep the same methodology, then at least give us insight into what it is.”

  1. This is long overdue.

    As one of the largest sites in the web with millions of unique visitors, we've had our traffic constantly undercounted by comscore (the gold standard for advertisers).

    Unfortunately, as publishers, we have no recourse with comscore and no insight into their methodology or panel/sample size.

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