UK digital measurement must change

24 April 2009

LONDON: The measurement of digital media in the UK is currently overly complex, and based on too many sources and metrics, undermining its usefulness to agencies and their clients, the audience at the ABCe Interaction 2009 Conference heard earlier this week.

Pete Robins, chairman of the IPA's Digital Media Group and a founding partner of digital specialist Agenda 21, argued agencies are in danger of being swamped by an ever-increasing amount of data from a wide range of competing technologies. 

While this information, rather than technology, will ultimately come to drive the digital advertising sector, Robins suggested that too much time is currently spent on the administration related to digital campaigns, rather than planning and buying.

This problem is considerably more pronounced in relation to digital than traditional media, and needs to be resolved by the industry as soon as possible.

Another major obstacle is that agencies working on digital campaigns tend to emphasise the production of large data reports, rather than interpreting data in a way that makes its useful to their clients, he said.

However, it will be the latter set of skills, rather than media buying strategies, that will come to be most valued by advertisers in the long-term.

Adam Freeman, commercial director of the Guardian News & Media, similarly argued there is a need to rethink the value of customer and consumer relationships in the digital space.

Research among visitors to the Guardian's website revealed there were essentially four different user groups – termed Casual, Connected, Committed and Catalysts – all of which had different requirements.

It also led to the launch of the Open Platform, a tool that enabled the Guardian's "partners" to easily integrate news content and data from its website with their own online properties.

Data sourced from WARC Online