in Data & Insights

Pixels, Panels & Participation

Last Friday the IAB released an open letter calling on the media industry’s traditional research organizations to submit to a third party audit of their measurement approaches. Commenting on the current situation, Randall Rothenberg the incoming President and CEO of the IAB said:

“Imagine my surprise when I came to the IAB and discovered that the main audience measurement companies are still relying on panels—a media-measurement technique invented for the radio industry exactly seven decades ago—to quantify the Internet.”

Mr. Rothenberg’s frustrations mirror those of many in the industry.  Panels of a few thousand people can accurately measure the few dozen radio stations in any local market, but because the Internet offers dramatically more choices of destination, even panels of millions of people often provide wildly inaccurate estimates.  Moreover panels fail to utilize one of the key differentiators that the Internet has over other media: it can be directly measured.

Direct measurement is the cornerstone of our free Quantified Publisher program. In addition to having access to a large panel, we allow publishers to participate directly in the ratings process through the use of a measurement pixel. Since the introduction of the program late last year, participation has grown at a rapid clip.  Earlier this week we announced that Netscape, WordPress and Answers.com recently joined the program. MediaPost provided a nice write-up.

While the interactive advertising market has grown significantly in recent years, it still has some way to go before it accounts for its fair share of advertising dollars. Transparency, openness and broader access to better audience data will be important components in bringing mainstream advertising online.