Advertisers want more than clicks, FIPP Congress told

User behaviour data is increasingly being used to tailor content, but it should also be used to drive advertising. “I hear a lot about data-driven content. It is time to do data-driven advertising. Take that data, create data-driven advertising and optimise it for your community,” Denise Colella, president of US-based Maxifier, told a session dedicated to audience measurement at the FIPP World  Congress today in Rome.

As technology develops to provide advertisers with much deeper insights into ad campaign performance, they are no longer just interested in clicks. While advertisers used to track metrics such as brand awareness, purchase intent, likelihood to recommend and conversion rates, the new core metrics set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau for brand advertising are viewability, in-view time, the number of universal interactions and universal interaction time. Other metrics, such as the hover rate, dwell time and attention quality are also gaining popularity.

But according to Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide, USA, which is now also auditing online advertising campaigns for agencies and clients, an expectation gap between buyers and sellers still exists: while buyers are interested in the number of unduplicated users, engagement metrics and viewable impressions, the sellers still prefer to rely on gross numbers. “The sweet spot is where print, digital, web, mobile and others intersect,” Hansen said. Indeed, the new metrics are not simply meant for display-media. Consumption from tablet devices is exploding, and metrics have been extended to embrace other channels.

But being able to define the audience based on its searches and keywords used, browsing behaviour, geographic data and the like is simply not enough. “Data is like running shoes – you can go out and buy the most expensive pair, but if they just sit by your bed it won’t help to improve your health,” Colella said. It is essential to keep acting on the data: advertising campaigns need to be optimized continually – an average of nine times per brand campaign and at least 11 times per performance campaign. “Go out and embrace this opportunity, go out and get the data. But more importantly, learn how to use it,” Colella said.

There are, of course, still limitations to efficient data collection, Hansen said. Distributors like Apple and Amazon limit publishers’ access to user information, there are privacy and cookie restrictions and many open sites do not require registration, making it difficult to track and identify users.

Hansen also noted another challenge in the field of data collection: the proliferation of various ways to monitor ad campaign performance online makes it difficult to get everyone to agree on a universal measuring system. “Most buying/selling is still done a la carte and each channel has its own reporting solution: BPA/ABC, ComScore, Flurry, etc. There are too many different standards,” he said. “What is the currency? Copies delivered/accessed? Served viewable impression? Likes, followers, members?”

According to Hansen, some attempts have been made to arrive at generalized standards in the industry. The MPA has recently announced five key metrics for digital magazines: total consumer paid digital issues, the total number of digital editions readers per issue, the total number of sessions per issue, the average amount of time spent per reader per issue and the average number of sessions per reader per issue. Still, Hansen believes that the industry needs to agree on one global standard for measuring audiences.

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