I recently had the pleasure of attending the Mid Atlantic Marketing Summit in McLean, VA. One notable speaker was Jodie McDermott, Senior Director of Product Management for comScore, a digital data analytics firm. McDermott reported on the 3MS initiative, “Making Measurement Make Sense.” The 3MS initiative covers the Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement, released by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) in June of 2011.
Jodie McDermott explained that the primary objectives of 3MS are to:
- Lend consistency to current metrics and measurement, and to
- Simplify the overall process of planning and buying digital media.
Another important 3MS objective is to create a governing system around new standards, in an effort to manage the constant change in today’s increasingly dynamic media landscape.
One of my main takeaways from this presentation is that “hover-time” and “ad viewability” are more strongly associated with conversions than are click-through rates. Hover-time refers to the amount of time a user ‘hovers’ over an ad with their mouse. Ad viewability refers to the position of the ad on the page.
What interested me most about the 3MS initiative is the move to the vGRP, or viewable gross impressions. The ANA reports that the currently counted “served impression” (a unified number of viewers) is not accurate in measuring true digital views. Often an ad will render an impression through a reporting service such as Google Analytics; however, the user may not have been exposed to the ad at all (For example, the ad may be placed at the bottom of the page, or may not have loaded). This results in an over-counting of impressions and great inaccuracy in digital reporting. In utilizing vGRP, marketers can better understand how users interact with an advertisement, and ultimately more fully optimize their online display strategy.
The future of digital media is highly dependent on the ability to report on metrics and compare data statistics generated from digital media with that of traditional media campaigns. This new standard of digital reporting will allow for consistency across all channels.
Traditionally, clicks or total gross impressions were thought to determine ad effectiveness. comScore challenges this idea with more meaningful metrics of measurement with the vGRP. By utilizing this new metric, comScore was able to identify that gross impressions had a significantly lower correlation with conversions. With this new knowledge and ability to quantify digital media effectiveness, the future of digital advertising and reporting looks bright.