According to The Oz media section the IAB is meeting today and the main item on the agenda is trying to get the wheels in motion on a single audience measurement system.
Right now there's 2 Neilsen tools (Netview - Panel, Market Intelligence - Site Side) as well as Hitwise (ISP based).
Last November, the IAB announced that it favoured a panel based methodology as a single standard of measurement, raising the ire, allegedly, of media agencies.
However, I would hazard a guess that publishers would have been more cheesed off as they often claim panel based measurement (ie Netview) underestimates their actual numbers ... and it does if you compare domestic Market Intelligence numbers to Netview numbers across some key sites.
According to the article "Industry sources estimated the $370 million general internet advertising sector risked losing tens of millions of dollars from its failure to resolve the issue."
I am not sure it's this dire ... but it appears that measurement is an issue.
Thing is, I don't really think it is. I can only speak from first hand experience, but very rarely has a client of mine expressed much concern about measurement inconsistency ... mainly because we use a consolidated reporting tool and back it up with qualitative research in many cases (ie Dynamic Logic).
Yes, problems can appear if you rely on publisher side measurement, but 9.9999 times out of 10 this isn't required. Measurement does solve the pissing contests (ie unique users) for publishers but I think as time goes on people have stopped caring about sheer numbers aside some select placement.
Digital is more a quality equation than a numbers game for most - what is the point of reaching 1m people if you don't actually know what result it had on response or brand? What is the IAB doing to address this?
It sort of feels sometimes that the IAB takes so long to actually move that when they do the issue is irrelevant. Is this the case with the measurement debate?
Personally I feel there are more pressing issues they need to sort out - in particular creative consistency across major networks (ie not just the big 5) and also creative flexibility so we can start seeing the sort of executions we see from o/s.
Keen to hear your thoughts.