Advertisers and agencies have put aside some of their recent differences, with ISBA and the IPA coming together to make a joint call for objective and independent data. They warned that the industry could not thrive if it did not start holding the data it used to plan, buy and attribute media to a higher standard.
The joint event at the IPA headquarters emphasised the value of certification by joint industry committees (JIC) and held it up as the gold standard.
Nevertheless, ISBA and the IPA’s leaders recognise the challenges of asking the industry to rely only on data approved by JIC bodies.
As JIC-approved data does not exist for every channel or media opportunity, asking members to restrict themselves to such data would be impossible, Sarah Golding, president of the IPA and chief executive of CHI & Partners, accepts. "However, where JIC- approved data does exist, it should be the primary data of choice for both planning and trading," she adds.
"Where it doesn’t and the user does not have the benefit of an industry ‘Kitemark’, planners should exercise extra caution to ensure they are working with comparable and meaningful metrics, and that any uncertainties or discrepancies are made clear."
Phil Smith, director-general of ISBA, agrees: "Planners use all kinds of data these days, which don’t all fit in the JIC model."
However, all data media planners use should be held to the same high standards as that approved by JIC organisations, he continues: "Ideally, all data would be joint industry, but we don’t have a JIC today dedicated to online media. UKOM is a worthwhile hybrid, with some limitations, while a comprehensive JIC would be almost certain to be too expensive for the industry to fund."
Google and Facebook – which resist sharing all their data with JICs – were represented at the event and both voiced a desire to work closely with the industry. Golding said that she had been impressed with the action taken by Facebook and Google to address measurement problems. "There is a lot happening that hasn’t been publicised," she told the audience.
Due to the rapidly evolving nature of their businesses, it would be hard to resolve all issues with Facebook and Google, Richard Foan, chair of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards and group executive director of communication and innovation at ABC, said at the event. "The important thing is that Facebook and Google are in constant and active dialogue with the industry."