The path towards media measurement’s ‘holy grail’

When true cross-media measurement comes, those who learned how to unlock the value across platforms will benefit the most, writes Manish Bhatia
24 July 2023
Manish Bhatia

Chief Growth & Product Officer

For an industry that is often derided for being too short-termist, there is one long-term goal that has secured plenty of devotion: true cross-media measurement encompassing all channels, platforms and devices. 

For marketers, it is described as the ‘holy grail’; a way of capturing the real value of advertising in an ever-changing consumer environment; ensuring adspend is allocated in line with independent market information; and helping to fully optimise campaigns and deliver an improved ad experience for audiences.

Recognising the significance of this endeavour, various advertiser-led initiatives have emerged globally to pave the way. For example, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has been actively promoting local initiatives that leverage existing resources, such as Origin in the UK and the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Cross-Media Measurement (CMM) in the US. 

These collaborative efforts signify a collective commitment towards realising the goal of measurement across media platforms, and it has taken years of effort to get this far. Even though progress has been made - we’re not quite there yet. However, the industry is still taking purposeful steps towards its shared and ambitious goal - by measuring viewing on all platforms and screens. 

“[Marketing] dollars fragment between linear, OTT, online video, programmatic video, social video, gaming video,” says Bharad Ramesh, Executive Director, Research & Investment Analytics at GroupM, the largest media investment company in the world.

“That's where the opportunity is. That's where two thirds of our dollars are as a group. That's the focus.”

Consequently, momentum has naturally built behind cross-platform audience measurement with a focus on viewing on the path towards measuring all media channels. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was it built without all the right foundations in place first.* 

Similarly, Kantar Media has been building the foundations for cross-media measurement by expanding our  audience measurement services in more than a dozen markets, while also working closely with the WFA, and contributing core components of our Campaign Audience Validation tool for Origin in the UK.

These have all been crucial milestones on the journey towards the industry’s vision of the future. And one thing I’ve learned in my time in this sector is that early adoption of new technological capabilities ensures an advantage for when a vision is fully realised.

Advertisers and media owners that invest in the present align themselves with industry trends, stay ahead of the curve, and position themselves for future advancements. When cross-media measurement is realised, those who learned how to unlock the value of measurement across platforms first will benefit the most. 

Why we must work together

As the industry realises its ambitions, it is also worth considering some of the shared challenges that must be overcome. 

These include working with data silos which make it difficult to combine data from different sources; attribution and the issue of linking a conversion to a specific channel or campaign; and the the absence of a single standard for cross-media measurement, which makes it difficult to compare data from different sources.

Yet as we develop and learn from cross-platform audience measurement - with key insights recently shared in these handy guides - we should hold on to these thoughts and recognise there are a number of things that can be done today to help us prepare.

Investment in technology will also remain paramount. Emerging capabilities in artificial intelligence, for example, can be used to overcome some of the challenges of cross-media measurement. The key will be experimentation.

Cross-media measurement is undoubtedly a complex challenge, but by sharing our learnings, collaborating, and harnessing the full potential of current capabilities, the industry can overcome these challenges and turn it into a reality. It just requires a commitment to invest and understand the critical stepping stones that pave the path forward.

Manish Bhatia is Chief Growth and Product Officer at Kantar Media

‘Unlocking Value: an advertiser’s guide to monetising viewers across platforms’ is available to download here. A separate guide helping media owners and platforms is also available for download. 

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*For the true measurement enthusiasts, Rome was actually built in around 800 years.