3 Associations Team on Updated Campaign Measurement Guidelines

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Three leading advertising trade associations in New York are collaborating to create a commonly accepted definition of how to count an online ad impression in an effort to make interactive media planning and buying easier.


The collaboration, also extending to more detailed pointers for interactive ad campaign measurement, involves the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Media Rating Council. The goal is to have a uniform set of definitions.


"The existing guidelines were established at a time when the interactive arena was in a state of change, as it always is," said Kipp Cheng, vice president and director of public affairs at the American Association of Advertising Agencies. "Now, nearly a decade into the interactive arena, we're getting to a consensus as to what specific terms mean.


"From the perspective of agencies, it's obviously valuable for agencies and marketers to be on the same page in terms of understanding what's what in a particular media."


An updated, commonly accepted definition, along with an auditing and certification process, aims to give advertisers and agencies more confidence in impression counts across myriad ad-serving technologies.


In addition to consistent industry definitions, the associations will push for a Media Rating Council-regulated audit process. Also, they will seek compliance from publishers and third-party ad servers once the guidelines are established.


The new guidelines will expand upon the initial parameters developed in January 2002 by the IAB, Media Rating Council and the Advertising Research Council. The American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers supported them.


Though it is on the wane, skepticism about the value of online advertising continues. Agencies, media and advertisers often struggle to make apples-to-apples comparisons, say, between interactive ads and TV. The language used in definitions is not helpful, either.


For example, the IAB defines an online ad impression as "the measurement of responses from a Web server to a page request from the user browser, which is filtered from robotic activity and error codes, and is recorded at a point as close as possible to opportunity to see the page by the user."


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