This week I was lucky enough to attend the IAB Conference on Digital Video. Apropos to my recent career move to Analytics, the one session I found particularly interesting was the panel discussion about digital video measurement. Sitting on the panel were several senior executives from media agencies as well as representatives from Kantar and Nielsen.

As expected, there was much discussion about the subjects of emerging devices/channels and tagging (universal tags is a very hot topic right now) – but what surprised me the most was the candor with which the representative from Kantar laid out the problems we face in digital media today. He plainly stated in front of the audience that we need to find a new currency for digital media measurement and that that currency needs to account for not only Reach and Frequency, but also for a measure of Impact.

I’ve been thinking about these issues for quite some time. You can actually look back in the archives of this blog and see my critical comments on the efficacy of GRPs as a currency for media evaluation. However, coming out of this panel discussion it seems newly clear to me that we are actually two steps behind when it comes to properly evaluating emerging media channels.

Step 1) We need to find a new currency (buying unit) outside of GRPs that can properly assess the value of digital media. The currency should include at least Reach, Frequency, and Impact – and possibly include other variables such as “likelihood to see” or “likelihood to recall”. This currency cannot be unique to digital channels; it needs to also accommodate TV and print! It must be a new universal unit.

Step 2) We need to look at how our new media currency is amplified as consumers see messages across several media channels. Currently, I believe the only way to accomplish this is to set up a Nielsen Household type panel that not only tracks TV viewership, but viewership across all media touch points.

Now for the big question: why haven’t we already solved these problems? The internet is not new – and as demonstrated by the Kantar representative’s panel contribution, it’s widely known that these problems exist. I would like to think that we’re all working on these problems (and I think we probably are), but perhaps the reason why no one has solved this issue is because it’s not in our best interest to do so.  Publishers and Agencies get paid using the old system of GRPs – why rock the boat by introducing a new currency?


Digital Media – We’re Two Steps Behind