Global advertisers including Mastercard and EA are set to gather along with a cohort of advertising execs next week to push Unilever’s plan for an agreed industry-wide metric to measure campaigns across the ecosystem.
Last year, Unilever announced its work on a first-of-its-kind cross-media measurement model that would judge the performance of ad campaigns across all publishers and platforms on TV, digital and social media. It would decide the metrics to measure success., rather than letting individual platforms control the metrics they give back to brands.
Twitter, Facebook and Google were on board to work with Unilever on the objective, along with measurement firms like Nielsen and Kantar Media.
Speaking to The Drum, Unilever's executive vice-president of global media, Luis di Como, said the company has already piloted the solution – which he was hesitant to fully detail – in the UK and US, its two key established markets, as well as India.
“One single measurement system is critical for us to improve our consumer experience, to avoid the bombardment [of ads] and to ensure that we can speak to the right people at the right frequency level,” he said.
“The insight from the pilots is now allowing us to make choices on the level of investment we're making across all of the different players.
“I can’t reveal increases and decreases but it's allowed us to go deeper, more granular, and use it as a way to have conversations with platforms to say we know what's working or not. As a result, we're allocating budget in the best possible way.
“We still need, of course, to refine the model and go a bit deeper into this. But we're highly encouraged by how we're making our investment work harder and be much more efficient and more importantly to provide more of an experience to the people we sell to.”
The next phase of the project is for Unilever to help introduce a version of this solution to other global advertisers, the view being that if every advertiser is using the same agreed cross-media measurement model it will bring consistency and “systemic change” to the way the entire industry judges the effectiveness of their media dollars.
Di Como said that Ben Jankowski, group head of global media at Mastercard, and Belinda Smith, EA's head of global marketing intelligence, are among the two key industry leadsers to have backed Unilever. Their involvement comes through the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), which was an early partner.
At Advertising Week New York next week (23 – 27 September), the WFA will host a closed door forum where the platforms, including Facebook and Google, will meet with broadcasters such as Viacom and NBCU, research companies including the MRC, key advertisers and other trade associations including Isba and the Association of National Advertisers to form a set of aligned measurement principles that would apply across all markets.
“When we're looking at global measurement, we have to have a consensus on how we're going to collect and manage all of the information to ensure we don't have duplicated reach and provide all tools necessary for media planning and buying. This forum is basically taking this initiative to make it a wider industry solution," said di Como.
He added it will be the first time that all players in the ecosystem have come together to “go deeper on this area” and establish a measurement framework that would be used across all markets.
“Going back to 2013, we were vocal about the need for third-party verification. We are now being vocal again on the need to have one better, single, source of truth on cross-media measurement.
"We can’t rely on a siloed approach from each of the publishers, and the metrics that are relevant for them. So, we need to make choices and use metrics that are relevant [to brands] and not the metrics that are relevant to each of the publishers,” he said.
“We need to have a sense of dissatisfaction to move things along. Yes, we've had progress, yes a lot has been done, but there is much more to do and we need to do it fast.”
This ambition forms part of Unilever's ongoing drive for better efficiency in its marketing, which has also seen it reevaluate the number of agencies it works with. Chief executive Alan Jope revealed earlier this year than the Marmite and Dove owner has been able to reinvest savings to the tune of €300m back into its marketing mix.