MRC Announce Digital Place-Based Measurement Std

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

The Digital Place Based Advertising Association has announced that the Media Rating Council (MRC) has now published standards for measurement of digital place-based audiences.

The standards were nearly three years in the making and provide the framework for syndicated audience measurement methodology as well as a benchmark for auditing the processes behind such measurement. The MRC’s standards for the digital place-based industry can be viewed here.

Barry Frey, President & CEO of DPAA told us “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of our industry. These standards open the door for us to provide syndicated, audited audience data to media planners, which in turn will put us in a stronger position to garner our rightful share of advertising budgets.”

Scott Marden, Chief Marketing Officer at Captivate who is chair of the DPAA’s Research and Standards Committee, added “These standards are the result of an extremely thorough process that included all key players– measurement services, media buyers and sellers. The result is a standards document that will help our industry further accelerate our already rapidly growing ad revenue. It is a final step in ensuring digital place-based advertising’s seat at the table with all measured media.”

According to the MRC document, the standards establish ‘a detailed set of methods and common practices for entities that measure digital place-based audiences. These standards are intended to establish and document sound and minimally acceptable practices of measurement; improve practices and disclosures used by practitioners; and also provide education to users of digital place-based audience measurement data from all segments of the Industry.’

The document establishes recommendations and benchmarks for audit processes whereby the practices and disclosures of digital place-based audience measurement products can be voluntarily validated by third parties. In doing so, it represents an important step in demonstrating to the advertising community that digital place-based advertising has a roadmap to deliver more accurate, reliable, verifiable and scalable audience data that agencies can use with confidence in determining the value of potential digital place-based media buys.

The standards represent phase one of a planned two-phased initiative. Phase two is intended to encompass the broader aspects of digital and analog out-of-home media. The expectation is that a single unified document ultimately will be produced to foster a common core of metrics and practices that can be applied across the full expanse of out-of-home media, and that these metrics will be comparable to those for other measured media.

The MRC suggests that the standards document be considered in conjunction with the DPAA’s Audience Metrics Guidelines, published in 2008, which describe the general principles for measurement of digital place-based media and which the industry has been observing since then.

George Ivie, MRC Executive Director and CEO, said “The MRC is pleased to have worked with DPAA and a broad coalition of industry leaders to develop standards intended to promote a consistent method of audience measurement across the broad array of digital place-based media entities. The standards provide the framework to establish quality audience measurement with transparency to aid the buy-sell process, and were challenging to develop considering the varied venues and environments in which these services operate.”

The MRC is a non-profit industry association established in 1963 composed of leading television, radio, print and Internet companies, as well as advertisers, advertising agencies and trade associations whose goal is to ensure measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective. Measurement services desiring MRC Accreditation are required to disclose to their customers all methodological aspects of their service; comply with the MRC Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research and other standards MRC produces; and submit to MRC-designed audits to authenticate and illuminate their procedures. In addition, the MRC membership actively pursues research issues they consider priorities in an effort to improve the quality of research in the marketplace. Currently more than 100 research products are audited by MRC.

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