3MS Initiative releases Digital Marketing Measurement Solution.

The first phase of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative is complete, and has yielded a five-part digital marketing measurement framework. The 3MS Initiative, a joint venture of the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) announced this framework today. The solutions embedded in this framework will provide a clear pathway for pilot tests and implementation timelines, which will in turn guide the creation of a cross-platform currency.

The cornerstone of this framework, and the first measurement principle, is to move from a “served” impression standard to a “viewable” impression standard. This will enable advertisers to obtain information about impressions that are actually viewable by online consumers, rather than those that have simply been served whether seen or not. Building on this foundation, the second step of the solution will feature a Gross Ratings Point metric that will report on the reach and frequency of the viewable impressions by audience demographics. Pilot tests will commence by early 2012, and timing to generate final solutions will be announced soon after.

Earlier this year, the initiative’s leaders, nearly 40 business and thought leaders from companies across the ecosystem, agreed on five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement. These principles were the product of extensive fact-finding and due diligence regarding current measurement offerings and their application to the business of transacting and evaluating advertising.

The five principles for creating digital measurement solutions, which will enhance digital media planning, assessment and comparison, are:

1. Shift from a “served” to a “viewable” impression standard
2. Introduce an online Gross Ratings Point metric, providing reach and frequency reporting of viewable impressions
3. Implement a classification system and taxonomy for banner, rich media and streaming video ads
4. Define, standardize and accredit metrics for view-through reporting and cumulative social activity
5. Establish standards and vendor accreditation to improve the methodology for online brand attitudinal studies

“This framework of principles and the evolving pilot tests will prove,” said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA. “We are extremely grateful to those who will contribute to our pilot testing, as they play a critical role in the establishment of this previously unmarked territory.”

As a next step towards making these solutions a reality, 3MS will launch six-month pilot tests with the support of leading marketers, agencies, publishers and ad servers. As the initiative continues to move forward, there will be ongoing industry outreach and education on 3MS findings through roundtables, webinars, conferences, and more.

3MS will serve to improve cross-platform comparability in a number of ways, including:

– Making the measurement of digital impressions more consistent with other media
– Leveraging the use of standard demographics used in other media
– Providing a consistent language to describe inventory
– Developing consistent, transparent and credible measures of the effect of interactivity on building brands
– Emphasizing improved attitudinal measures and confidence relative to other media

“The entire ecosystem is on the threshold of very exciting changes that will enhance brand marketers’ abilities to make the right cross-media allocations for their goals,” said Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President of Industry Services, IAB. “As we develop specifications for pilot tests, we are confident that the tests will show us much about the impacts of the proposed solutions and will prepare us for bigger and smarter test approaches as we go broader than pilots.”

“The most important result of this initiative is that the community has said loud and clear that we must improve the way we do our business,” added 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill. “The 3MS output is a giant step in that direction.”

The 3MS initiative requires an ongoing governance structure. The 3MS initiative is in discussions with the Media Rating Council (MRC), which is uniquely qualified to provide governance. The MRC is respected for its objectivity, independence, pilot test management and an unwavering rigor in the development and maintenance of standards. When finalized, the governance structure will extend the metrics standards to other form factors (e.g. mobile/tablet) and other types of digital advertising (e.g. text).

3MS is an industry-wide initiative to improve cross-platform comparability through improved digital metrics and standards, particularly focused on supporting brand advertising. Driven by senior leaders from across the advertising ecosystem, the initiative is facilitated by the management consulting firm Bain & Company and the strategic advisory firm MediaLink LLC. The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and the Online Publishers Association (OPA) are supporters of the initiative, and nearly 40 * industry executives were part of the steering committee and working teams. Additionally, more than 150 experts were engaged from across the marketing ecosystem.

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