IAB lays groundwork for measurement contract tender

Alice MannersThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today confirmed that it is  laying the groundwork for an open tender of the IAB contract as its preferred provider of online audience measurement.

The contract is currently held by audience measurement company Nielsen, which won the contract to be the official measurement service back in 2011 and had the contract renewed without tender last year.

“One of the key priorities for the IAB this year is around online measurement,” said CEO of IAB Alice Manners. “We have a deed renewal process happening, so the IAB looks at the  environment and have the online audience measurement framework in the marketplace.”

“We have a contract in place with Nielsen and this year that will come into a renewal process. One of the key things will be what we require from an environmental perspective that goes beyond the desktop.”

Manners promised the process around the deed renewal and any open tender would be “transparent” after criticism in the industry about the last process.

“We want to take (measurement) to the next level and it will be a very transparent process. In March there will be a Town Hall where we will invite publishers and agencies to come and give a point of view about what they want and require from measurement going forward,” she said.

“Then going forward we will go into the tender process and I will be encouraging as many people as possible to submit in that tender process, even if they can’t look at it holistically, and it is several companies coming together to look at an area of it.

“This is the critical piece for us. Yes last year we go double digital growth in online advertising and we will have that again this year with us surpassing the $4bn range, but to get to the next level it is the measurement piece which is critical — how do we will enable the agencies and the planners to plan across platforms.”

Manners cited mobile ad expenditure as one key area in which the lack of clear measurement was impacting revenue and expenditure.

“If we look at mobile expenditure at the moment it is still not what it potentially could be and I think that comes from the measurement piece,” said Manners

The IAB was already working on an online mobile measurement project designed to help media agencies better plan and measure audience in mobile. The project will be launched in the second quarter of 2014.

Chair of the IAB Mark Britt said getting mobile measurement was crucial for the digital industry. “To put some context on that (process), if the current pace of change continues at some point in the next financial year  Australian publishers will see more traffic to mobile websites than desktop. So you are seeing the agency move at a pace of change to the industry,” said Britt, who is also CEO of Mi9.

“In the past the IAB was able to take several years to slowly work through in a collaborative and consensus way but we are now seeing a pace of change that means we have to shift from being a voice for the common denominator to being an antagonist and a thought leader about what the future of digital will look like,” he said.

Danny Bass the new chair of the IAB agency advisory board said for media agencies this process would be very important. “I look back at the last tender process, three years ago, and the conjecture and focus on getting it right last time but this one is critical,” he said.

“Four years ago we were pretty much just talking about desktop, but the explosion of mobile video, digital television there is much more.”

It is understood that a formal announcement about the deed renewal will be made next week.

Nic Christensen 


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