What do advertisers want for Christmas? The end of autorefresh, and transparency

The Australian Association of National Advertisers has set out its wishlist for 2011. Top of the agenda is an end to autorefresh.

The list:

Wish #1: An end to auto-refresh in online advertising

Australia is among the last developed countries to abandon the practice of artificially inflating online audience numbers by treating each “refresh” of computer screens as an additional viewer. This practice is skewing the audience data and presenting a distorted and potentially misleading picture of online penetration.  

Wish #2: Better data on audience numbers during TV adbreaks

Some advertisers have been surprised to learn that the new metric for television audience reporting – introduced with the advent of digital recording devices and tracking of time-shifted viewing – is not picking up data on changes to audience viewing patterns during adbreaks. Without this data, advertisers will have less confidence in the audience numbers being reported.

Wish #3: A replacement for the diary system for radio

Surely the days of the quaint old “diary” must be numbered. In TV, metered systems took over in the 90’s yet the radio diary persists despite the introduction of reliable electronic alternatives. The arrival of digital radio should be heralded with a new up- to- date system for measuring the radio audience.

Wish #4: A more reliable readership metric

Advertisers are watching with interest and anticipation as the NewspaperWorks pursues its efforts to introduce a new print readership metric. There is also an element of trepidation as industry faces the prospect of having multiple readership measurement systems in market at the same time. We wish for a rapid, reliable and cost effective outcome.

Wish #5: Issue Specific Reporting in Print

AANA and the Media Federation have been working all year to make this wish come true. Advertisers want better reporting of the performance of specific issues and specific sections of newspapers and magazines. Will 2011 be the year we finally get it?

Wish #6: Transparency in Agency Remuneration

The remuneration explicitly agreed with the advertiser should be the only source of revenue for the agency for their work on that business. Advertisers seek confirmation of this through complete financial transparency, and expect agencies fully to declare the revenue stream directly or indirectly related to their business, for example via commissions, cash rebates or free advertising space provided by the media to the agency.

Wish #7: Improvements to the Accuracy of Data on Adspend

Advertisers want to have greater confidence that the research data, especially relating to the adspend of competitive brands, on which they are basing their strategic plans, is as reliable as it can be. We believe there is room for improvement and will be making this a priority in 2011.

Wish #8: Acceptance of Online Behavioural Advertising

AANA has been working with a cross-industry group to develop a self-regulatory approach to “interest-based” or online behavioural advertising. This is preferable for both advertisers and consumers to having governments attempt to regulate conduct in the space. We are determined to bring these guidelines into force in early 2011.

Wish #9: Greater Effectiveness and Accountability

By partnering with the Communications Council on the EFFIES and with the MFA Awards, AANA has thrown its weight behind industry efforts to champion the cause of effectiveness and accountability in advertising. We wish for a renewed industry commitment to this cause, as brands fight to gain recognition in an increasingly competitive retail environment.

Wish #10: Better Auditing Systems and Practices

We wish more advertisers would take advantage of tools like the AANA Guide to Choosing and Using a Media Auditor and become more informed and enquiring in their relationships with the media and media agencies.

List compiled by the AANA


  1. Ben S
    8 Dec 10
    12:32 pm

  2. Wow auto refresh number 1. 18 months ago ppl told me it was irrelevant. Funny.

  3. Andy
    8 Dec 10
    4:17 pm

  4. So they want perfect systems for everything? Coming from someone in analytics in a major media provider, I’ve got to say we’d love to. However, in some cases the technology doesn’t exist, exists but is misleading as to what it provides, or is so expensive to carry out that media cost would go through the roof.

  5. BD
    9 Dec 10
    2:09 pm

  6. Personally I think the focus on auto-refresh is nothing more than a tool for agencies to attempt to negotiate lower rates, be it at a cpm or volume basis.

    Take agenices out of the picture.

  7. JD
    10 Dec 10
    8:53 am

  8. “inflating online audience numbers by treating each “refresh” of computer screens as an additional viewer”

    Surely both Nielsen and comScore are only counting these as page impressions rather than new ‘viewers’.

    In actual fact, Nielsen report on ‘browsers’ where comScore report on ‘viewers’.

    JD’s Wishlist – Wish # 1

    For the Australian Association of National Advertisers to understand online enough to comment intelligibly?

    BD – Auto-refresh allows publishers to generate additional page impressions, not unique viewers or browsers. By keeping Auto-refresh publishers are trying to show more banners to each viewer. This is currently contributing to a slow devaluation of their users (and eCPM) as they flood them with banners.



  9. pokies online
    10 Dec 10
    4:57 pm

  10. Efforts in compiling the list are evident.
    I totally agree to point no.
    1. Putting an end to auto refresh: Why to inflate the data of online audience just for the sake of benefit of a few?


    6. A crystal clear picture of the remuneration of the agency: Why hide things just to create confusion?

  11. BD
    13 Dec 10
    1:03 pm

  12. @JD – I don’t know about that. Most publishers of a significant inventory level have a surplus of inventory that isn’t effectively monetised. You can fill it with low hanging performance campaigns or you can turn it into network activity I suppose, Or the solution might be to go down the less is more path.

    Theoretically agencies should be willing to pay more for pages that don’t auto-refresh, as opposed to saying we will refuse to pay for advertising we have deemed less effective (without any evidence i see of value). How much of a % difference do you think it really equates to? It would be a different approach to things if agencies did something like increase the rate they will pay based on how much of an issue it is “perceived” to be, you might see the market shift. Why should a publisher change?

    I’m a big fan of less is more. But if I was a publisher and I was going to look at adjusting then agencies need to get serious about the metrics that actually matter.