Aldo Agostinelli

Tv, internet, radio, press and the related digital versions: understanding what to invest in when it comes to advertising is not easy today. Especially within a market whose consumers use contents continuously switching from one medium to another, but in which the audience is measured on the basis of specific categories. Read it in Italian

The relevance of the correctness of measurements is a controversial issue and has been debated for long (see: “ADV and visibility: new surprises are coming from Facebook metrics”). And the presence of several global players such as Google and Facebook is making it even more complex, since they are part of the production chain and also have a major role in terms of contacts with users. Holding the top positions in the national and global ranking in terms of earnings, such global players make it impossible to objectively analyze the activity of users surfing their websites, since they do it by themselves through their web analytics tools.

According to a survey concerning the measurement systems applied to the mass media demographics issued by AgCom, this controversial mechanism allows web big names to “certify” their leadership with reference to the audience and to consequently strengthen their positions in the online market. In short, due to the lack of an “external auditor”, no-one can control that “controllers” are telling the truth.

The real problem are not the web giants, though. Investors and advertisers are confused and unmotivated by the fragmentation of the outcome of such measurements.

As found by the Media Surveillance Authority, such cross-media dimension challenges the correct measurement of the way contents are used, both in Italy and abroad. Currently TV is no longer the queen of media, Internet is not confined behind a huge PC display and news are no longer given by the family radio kept in the kitchen. With smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops and digital radios, users watching films can easily decide to stop watching it and then start back later on using their phones, or they can listening to the radio while chatting on social media or making an online purchase.

The different measurement systems used per each medium, the lack of common standards and of a tracking system which could seriously assess the more and more complex and cross-platform users’ activities have become heavy hurdles to those who need to have certified and various data to decide how to invest in advertising.

With the current systems, which are partly based on census data partly on ad hoc panels, consumers using many different media generate overlapping between the currency of TV and digital media.

We can therefore agree with the Authority’s forecast: the inevitable (and necessary!) evolution of measurement systems is bound to be consumer-centric, and based on both virtual and non-virtual tools. The target is the creation of an integrated measurement environment, which can provide unique and common metrics about users’ involvement in contents and ADVs circulating among the different platforms.

How do you judge the current metrics? Tweet @agostinellialdo.
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Aldo Agostinelli