IAB reappoints Gai Le Roy as research director

IAB Australia has gone back to the future with former research director Gai Le Roy returning to the role at a time when digital measurement is coming under increased scrutiny – with Le Roy pledging that daily digital ratings would an immediate priority.

Gai Le Roy returning to IAB Australia

Gai Le Roy returning to IAB Australia

Le Roy’s return to the IAB comes less than two years after she stepped down from the role and just months after the organisation appointed a new CEO in the wake of a management change.

Le Roy was instrumental in running the IAB’s online measurement tender in 2014 and helping develop the industry’s push into online audio measurement with Spotify and Pandora.

IAB CEO Vijay Solanki said it was crucial the industry had someone in the role who could be trusted.

“Gai is without a doubt that person,” Solanki said.

“She has the credibility to work with partners, agencies, clients and other trade bodies and will be a driving force for measurement innovation.”

Le Roy said the nature of the market was such that she felt she would have a lot to contribute in returning to the role and that part of the attraction had been the new leadership which was bringing both a global perspective and a marketer’s perspective to the IAB.

“The market at the moment is very interesting and there is a lot of scrutiny on media across the board – digital, TV, everything – all measurement and ROI for all things,” Le Roy told Mumbrella.

“I didn’t like being an outsider and so the appetite to actually be involved in those discussions and work on solutions was really high.”

Vijay Solanki said Le Roy's broad experience would bring trust to the role

Vijay Solanki said Le Roy’s broad experience would bring trust to the role

She said that while there had been talk about cross media measurement for more than a decade she felt that the market was genuinely ready for digital to be working across all platforms on measurement.

“It’s a good time for digital to go okay, we’re here, we’re big, but we want to work with everyone, let’s be transparent and work on solutions that can deal with TV or radio or whatever it might be and help the market to be less confused, because it is confusing.

“The numbers come out and there is always confusion about what they mean and I really want to help in making sense of that.”

She said that the IAB had an important role to play in dealing with heightened levels of scrutiny that the digital world was now facing and admitted that as an industry body it needed to do more to educate the market in the face of criticism from the likes of Mark Ritson.

“It’s an education process but also there’s a certain amount of making sure there’s enough transparency there,” she said.

Le Roy noted that there would be a review of the IAB’s contract with Nielsen at the end of next year, although the IAB has an option to extend the contract for a further two years.

“The market is changing so quickly there are resets in KPIs with vendors quite regularly anyway,” she said.

“But the road to daily ratings is probably the biggest challenge, so making sure that’s ready for early 2017.”

She said the development of the daily ratings metrics was being worked on by 22 insights managers from a wide range of publishers and agencies to make sure the that the methodology was “pinned down” before it went to market.

Another priority will be to link planning tools to the data that is being generated by Nielsen so planners can have a clear view of how campaigns were performing.

“While we need to keep evolving and solidifying our standard media currencies, the real work of evaluating the effectiveness of media spend is still to be done,” she said.

“I look forward to moving our measurement capabilities towards the ability to assess outcomes of different devices, environments, audience targeting and ad formats to establish what makes marketing communications work.”

Recent revelations, including the announcement that Facebook had over reported video views were a signal that the digital industry needed independent measures.

“It highlights the need for independent measurement,” she said.

“I think there is always going to be individual metrics from different publishers on top of that – that is never going to go away, it’s just too granular to do at an industry level – but the bigger we get the more scrutiny there is going to be, so the more accountable we have to be. We being digital and we being the media industry.”

Most recently Le Roy has been working with behavioural research company Gateway Research, and has worked at Fairfax Media as general manager of audience insights and Ninemsn as insights manager.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.