L’Oréal among first to trial cross-media measurement tracker it believes could be ‘revolutionary’

L’Oréal, alongside EE, P&G, Unilever and PepsiCo, are taking part in the first practical trials of ISBA’s much talked about cross-media measurement tool Origin.

L'Oreal intern
Source: L’Oreal Chanthapanya Emeric

L’Oréal is one of five advertisers set to take part in the first live trial of ISBA’s cross-media measurement tool Origin, with the beauty giant’s media director suggesting the platform could be “revolutionary” for the industry.

The aim is to create a common measurement tool across media to help advertisers improve efficiency by reducing waste from duplicated reach and unwanted frequency. It does this by feeding in multiple different measurement tools into one dataset to help advertisers plan, track and evaluate campaigns across digital and broadcast platforms.

After a series of funding, Origin is now entering phase four and launching the first trials, with real campaign data from linear TV, digital video and digital display being used for the first time.

Alongside L’Oréal, EE, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever have also signed up to participate in the first trial, with the beauty brand’s media director, Gayle Noah, saying the scale of the businesses involved shows just “how important this is to all advertisers”.

The second wave of trials will then accommodate up to 30 advertisers before moving into the pilot launch phase in 2024.

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“It was absolutely crazy we didn’t have a single source measurement across TV, video and digital,” she tells Marketing Week, pointing out that L’Oréal has been helping to fund the project since its inception in 2019. “It’s absolutely crucial we’re at the forefront of it as one of the leading UK advertisers. Right from the beginning, we saw the potential in it and we really wanted to be involved from the ground floor.”

Noah is cautious but optimistic about the results she expects to see from the trial noting that it won’t be providing “accurate data” at this point in terms of everything they want to see. “I would love to see what I’m going to get as total reach and frequency across my TV, video, digital plans,” she says. “And then how can I start to use my money more effectively? How can I really look at my media investment across all the platforms.”

But patience will be the key, says Noah, who accepts this trial is very much testing the pipes. “This is getting some real data out of it to see the quality of that data, understand what needs to be tweaked in terms of the user interfaces,” she continues. “How we’re going to be using the tool, both at the advertiser side and the agency side, as well as the media owners as well.”

As to why this is so important it comes back to that point about bringing everything under one roof, she says. Noah explains L’Oréal is “investing a lot of money” in different platforms that are all very siloed. With “very high TV inflation” the brand is trying to understand what’s the best use of its money across the whole funnel.

“Currently we’re having to use different systems to try and understand what TV plus video or TV plus some of the other digital channels is providing,” Noah explains. “And we’ve not been able to have a holistic view on it yet. I’m really hoping, although it’s obviously still early days, that Origin is going to develop into that.”

The UK is leading the way on this. Everyone is looking at the UK on Origin, I think it could absolutely be revolutionary for the industry.

Gayle Noah, L’Oréal

The project has come in for criticism from certain quarters, however, particularly traditional broadcast TV providers. Sky, ITV and Channel 4, as well as TV audience measurement board BARB, are yet to feed their own on-demand and linear data into Origin.

The broadcasters’ fear that Origin will be biased towards digital platforms though this is something that Noah rejects. “It is advertisers’ money, and they need to give advertisers credit to decide where we’re placing it and to better understand what the right content is,” she says. “Advertisers are very savvy these days and we can make those decisions ourselves. It shouldn’t be dictated to, by a platform, we should be able to have the information and make our own decisions. Because what’s right for one advertiser isn’t necessarily right for another.”

How we got here

ISBA’s Origin Project has been in the works for three years now. Phase one was very much announcing the project and gauging interest from the wider community before phase two delivered the proof of concept. Phase three saw ISBA enlist the help of Kantar to build the single-source panel and the development of the platform’s technical infrastructure through Accenture. Currently the panel can host 700 households and work is continuing to eventually scale that to 2,500. Phase four is the latest step in the plan.

‘Media has never been more complex’: How ISBA plans to restore transparency for advertisersMore than £32m in funding has been raised for the project, with £20m of that coming in its most recent funding drive for phase four from 170 ISBA members. The large digital platforms, too, including Google, Meta and TikTok have also contributed to Origin.

It’s currently UK-centric but Noah believes if it works then it could quickly be adopted across the world. “The UK is leading the way on this. We’ve been the first market to go. I’ve not seen anything in any other market yet. Everyone is looking at the UK on Origin, I think it could absolutely be revolutionary for the industry,” she concludes.



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