‘It’s about time data reflected the truth’ urge IPA and ISBA as they issue call to action

Advertising bodies the IPA and ISBA have united to issue a call to action for the media industry to provide more accountability and accurate data for advertisers.

The IPA and ISBA are uniting to call on marketers to defend the importance of accountable audience data that will stand up against strict independent verification.

In a new paper, called ‘A Matter of Fact’, they call for marketers to uphold the following standards:

  • Ensure the audience data used for trading is based on metrics and methods that comply with agreed, open industry standards
  • Insist those standards are upheld by independent auditing
  • Hold proprietary data sets to the same level of accountability as industry-owned trading currencies
  • Support the principles of the Joint Industry Currency (JIC) model as the best-in-class approach to providing objective and comparable audience data and metrics
  • Encourage all media owners and platforms to engage with the JICs, not to the exclusion of their own data sets, but to enhance their credibility with advertisers.

The paper also urges marketers to ask their agencies and digital ad firms such as Google questions including “who gathers the data?” “how is it processed?” and “has the data been independently audited?” before entering into media deals.

Speaking at an event launching the recommendations this morning (1 June), IPA president Sarah Golding said: “There is now a tsunami of data, but how do we know this data set is fit for purpose or safe to base decisions on? We want to help marketers really ask questions before potentially making costly mistakes.”

Also speaking at the event was Richard Marks, founder of media consultancy Research The Media, and he said the culture of questionable audience metrics must come to an end.

“There’s an obvious inconsistency in how someone is classed as a viewer on platforms such as Facebook, where viewers of a three-minute video are listed just like viewers of one-minute videos,” he added. “It is madness, but there’s method in the madness as they want to mislead advertisers.”

He claimed “mere estimations” were being portrayed as accurate audience measurement data. Subsequently, he urged Google and Facebook to “put the ingredients on the side of the tin” in order to prove to advertisers their validity.

ISBA’s director general Phil Smith concluded: “Just because measurement is verified by a third party doesn’t mean it is accurate. We’re still unsatisfied as a large chunk of data isn’t independently audited; we’re hoping this report can be a step in the right direction to correcting that.”

You can read the full ‘A Matter of Fact: The need for accountable media audience data and how to get it’ here.



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