During the course of this past week I was fortunate to attend and participate in the asiConferences International Radio & Audio and Television & Video (RATV) virtual event.
As always, it’s encouraging to be reminded that, when it comes to audience measurement, the challenges we face in South Africa are not unique.
As is often the case with a media conference, RATV offered a feast of terminology and acronyms. A lexicon of mediaspeak from AVOD to XMM. Detail enough to satiate the appetite of the most ardent media enthusiast.
From a drone perspective, however, it is clear that the future of audience measurement lies in delivering against three critical parameters. What we might call the Clearwater Solution or the H2O paradigm.
Hybrid. Holistic. Outcomes.
In short, the media industry needs ‘hybrid’ research methodologies to collectively align and create a more ‘holistic’ and inclusive understanding of media-consumption behaviour, so that the new media metrics will go beyond quantitative audience measurement and offer ‘outcomes’ orientated insights for both buy-side and sell-side media attribution modelling.
This is what is increasingly being referred to by advertisers globally as the ‘North Star’ outcome. A fixed point around which all media audience measurement can navigate.
Much of this orientation and energy is derived from the recently updated World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) framework Establishing Principles for a new approach to Cross-Media Measurement; you can read more about it out here.
Both ANA (Association of National Advertisers – North America) and ISBA (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) have been developing their own cross media measurement initiatives in tandem with WFA and have been key partners in this programme.
The North Star Solution sets out to create a media framework where advertisers will be able to “plan holistically and benchmark efficiency and effectiveness” at a global level while at the same time recognising that all measurement solutions are local and should not be globally enforced. So the WFA framework focuses on the development of industry-agreed principles and frameworks which “local markets can adopt and adapt when ready, with a view to introducing some global consistency”.
Of course, in the spirit of this metaphor, perhaps what South African advertisers, broadcasters and publishers need to be focusing on, is the Southern Cross outcome rather than the North Star.
The eight pillars of the Southern Cross outcome in South Africa are:
- Full lifecycle – Unduplicated cross-media reach and frequency by publisher, media and platform
- Continuous – Continuous measurement which is sustainable in a post-cookie media landscape
- Comprehensive – Inclusive of all advertising formats
- Full-funnel – Going beyond quantitative audiences measures to address attribution
- Privacy-safe – Building measurement services that protect consumer privacy while delivering buy-side and sell-side functionality
- Fair and objective metrics – Commonly understood, comparable and equitable definitions of ad-impressions
- Trust and transparency – Enabled through audits and third party verification
- Advertising and content specific – Priority should be on media exposure that is either advertising specific or capable of carrying advertising
Quixotic as these aspirations may appear, in South Africa I firmly believe that the local media industry needs to embrace the alignment of our various local media audience measurement initiatives with this global perspective.
Ultimately all streams flow into the river and all rivers flow into the ocean. I’ve said it many times. For whales there is only one ocean and for consumers there is only one campaign. We need to make that the common starting point.
Gordon Muller is Africa’s oldest surviving media strategist. Author of Media Planning – Art or Science. Mostly harmless! Read his Khulumamedia Blog here.
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