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Publishers, brands and agencies collaborate in AOP-led drive to tackle cross-device ad attribution

Publishers including the Guardian, Telegraph, and Dennis, are working with Omnicom to drill into cross-device, digital ad effectiveness in a major project led by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP).

The project will kick off next month with three major brands from a mix of verticals across the Omnicom Group running campaigns across all mobile and online channels of 21 publishers. The details of which brands will be involved are yet to be revealed, but PHD, OMD and Manning Gottlieb OMD will all put forward a client.

The month-long campaigns will feature a range of different display and video formats, each bespoke to tablets, smartphones and desktop, across the publishers’ portfolios totalling 30 million ad impressions.

Speaking to The Drum AOP managing director Tim Cain said the move marks one of the body’s most “ambitious” to date, representing a “substantial” investment.

“There’s been no other cross-device project like this to date. The scale of it is huge in terms of the number of media brands involved, and the 30 million ad impressions is a sizable amount. Collectively we are all trying to find answers to make cross device advertising work more effectively,” he said.

“One of biggest challenges for advertising at the moment is working out how to reach consumers across devices, and what’s lacking is how those different devices and the combination of them can create the best consumer response from a brand advertising point of view. It’s about the connectivity between all three [devices] - how can we get closer to understanding how audiences react to campaigns,” he said.

Rich media partner Celtra will provide a dashboard from which the parties can track and measure the results of the campaigns, including metrics such as click-through rates, dwell time, video-open and view-through rates, along with any ad extensions such as click-to-call.

It will also incorporate viewability metrics, and it will track what ads have direct correlations to brand traffic uplift and search activity for the brand.

Although the AOP regards viewability as an interesting area for publishers to explore, Cain said it has not been under pressure from publishers or advertisers to include it as part of the project, a factor which he described as “surprising”.

However, he cited various reasons for this including the fact that video and mobile viewability standards are yet to be released, with only desktop standard currency available in the market, while there are also discrepancy issues to overcome in terms of the various versions of viewability metrics suppliers provide.

Meanwhile native advertising – also a hot topic in publisher and brand circles – will not be measured in this particular project, although Cain said it is readying a standalone project on that topic in the latter half of this year.

PHD’s head of mobile Rachel Robinson said the work will help drive further insight into how advertisers can refine their media budget allocations, particularly with regard to mobile.

“There is a lot of interest around cross-device tracking and given we are now looking to 2015 planning where mobile and tablet will play an increasingly big role, it is important to be able to use insights like this to prove the value of mobile to our clients,” she said.

She added that mobile, although hugely valuable in the overall consumer journey “doesn’t always wash its face in terms of ROI”, therefore this move should help justify to its clients where they should be deploying their budgets.

The Telegraph, Guardian Media Group, Dennis Publishing, IPC Media, Haymarket and Incisive Media, are among the publishers taking part, while Mobile 5 will produce all creative content.

The project marks the second phase in the AOP’s digital ad measurement drive for mobile devices, having initiated its exploration of digital ad effectiveness across premium mobile sites last spring.

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