Some of the world’s biggest brands, including Mastercard, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, have joined forces to launch a global initiative to build consensus on key principles for cross-media measurement.

The Cross Media Working Group is made up of leading brands from the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Media Board, as well as industry bodies like the Association of National Advertisers (US) and the UK’s ISBA.

ACA (Canada), OWM (Germany), Swedish Advertisers and Union des Marques (France) are also participating, alongside several major digital platforms and publishers, including Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Other participants include representatives from all the major advertising holding groups and the Media Ratings Council (MRC), which recently released its own cross-media measurement standards that the WFA said are a “critical reference point” for the new group.

The initiative will build on the challenges of third-party verification and measurement outlined in the WFA’s Media Charter and aims to speed up the implementation of more consistent measurement without having to adopt a separate solution for each market.

“Meaningful cross-audience measurement represents a step-change for marketers in understanding the impact of their marketing investment. But with great promise comes great complexity so there are many challenges to work through,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA.

“Our first goal is to identify the global principles that can help accelerate the adoption of cross-media measurement, enabling more individual markets to adapt a common platform while also reflecting local market custom and practice,” he added.

According to the WFA, the group has been meeting for several months to identify common ground and it also came together to advance discussions during Advertising Week in New York the other week. That work identified four key principles to build consensus.

The first concerns privacy, with the group stating that data must be shared in a manner that respects consumer privacy and aligns with existing and emerging regulations.

Secondly, given the complex infrastructure required for cross-media measurement, decisions need to be taken about how best to connect these data sources.

The group also said that cross-media measurement requires consistent definitions and metrics to enable like-for-like comparisons between media.

Finally, there should be clear governance to protect privacy, ensure objectivity and enable decision-making as well as agreement on how this is to be funded.

Commenting on the launch of the initiative, ANA CEO Bob Liodice said: “The work the WFA is doing in measurement is vitally important, and the ANA will continue to actively participate in this global initiative.”

Also commenting, Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief brand officer, said: “We’ve been talking about cross-platform media transparency through cross-platform media measurement for far too long. It’s time to get on with it and this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Sourced from WFA, MRC; additional content by WARC staff