New Google boss calls for collaboration on cross-screen measurement as attacks on digital arise

Google Australia boss Jason Pellegrino has called for media and digital companies to work more closely to provide cross-platform measurement, as the tide of digital doubters increases.

Pellegrino named as new Google MD

Pellegrino: calling for better cross-platform measurement

Recent months have seen the likes of academic Mark Ritson, Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman, and last week, marketing consultant and author Peter Field, join a chorus of voices questioning the amount of money marketing executives are throwing at digital channels, while apparently abandoning what they call proven platforms delivering predictable mass media audiences capable of building brands.

In his first public comments since taking the top job at Google Australia and New Zealand, Pellegrino wrote in The Australian that while there was an industry pre-occupation with the platforms, consumers were just interested in the content and that there needed to be industry collaboration on measurement.

Pellegrino told Mumbrella the pace of change was so fast it needed to be addressed by all players.

“Consumer behaviour has evolved and is continuing to evolve so quickly we need to make sure that measurement reflects this changing landscape,” Pellegrino said.

“It’s not about one platform or another – we need to work together across platforms to achieve a method of measuring audience across screens, including on mobile which is not currently reflected in all industry measurements. We know more than half of Youtube watchtime now happens on mobile, which I’ll talk more about at Brandcast later this week.”

The Brandcast event on Thursday is Google’s showcase for Youtube, in effect its upfront presentation pitch to media agencies and advertisers.

Last week the Communications Council brought UK academic and marketing consultant Peter Field out to Australia to speak to the industry as part of the Effie Awards.

Field said the plague of “short-termism” being seen with the use of digital marketing channels could in part be blamed on executives with an influence on marketing budgets who themselves had no background in marketing.

“It’s driven by lots of things, partly in misguided beliefs from people in general management, who perhaps don’t have a marketing background, that somehow you can achieve everything in a quarter or less that you could achieve in a longer term, so there is no reason to think long term,” Field told Mumbrella.

Procter & Gamble has been the highest profile advertiser to retreat from its bullishness on digital channels, while other marketers are also challenging some of the longer terms metrics being driven by platforms such as Facebook and Youtube.

Ritson has grabbed attention around the country calling on digital platforms to back their claims about the success of social, saying that most brands suffer from low engagement on social.

He warned that the number being claimed by many digital players meant that no-one would be able to trust the data being presented for the next five years.

Field told Mumbrella that the entrance of academics into the debate was forcing companies to scrutinise the facts in ways that businesses themselves often wouldn’t.

“What you find is that a lot of traditional thinking, a lot of traditional media, a lot of traditional brand building approaches still deliver hard commercial gain. I welcome academic work in this area,” Field said.

Unusually, Field gave a brief speech during last week’s Effie Awards, which were sponsored by Think TV.

Pellegrino is pushing to start a broader debate on the measurement across screens, managed by both digital players and traditional broadcasters, and said that the company was also working with the IAB on the issue.

Google is working with our third party partners, other industry players and the IAB to improve measurement across the industry,” he said.


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