Interactive Advertising Bureau
02 July 2019

IAB Europe’s Effectiveness Measurement Survey Paints a Picture of an Incoherent Measurement Ecosystem

Authors: Anton Kopytov, Chair IAB Europe Research Committee and Partner Technology Consulting, Mindshare

Phil Sumner, Global Media Insight Director, Teads

State of Play

For decades, marketers have used traditional channels such as print, radio, TV and outdoor to reach consumers. It’s an accepted fact that digital has disrupted this approach and whilst marketing has become more measurable, the question of what to measure has become increasingly complex. Furthermore, the rapid pace of change has given rise to myriad interpretations and explanations of similar concepts which in turn has resulted in hugely fragmented language in the industry.  A common language would help both those on the buy and sell side of our industry to bring more clarity and comprehension to the measurement ecosystem.

Anecdotally, feedback on this from IAB Europe members and partners is common; highlighting that a large level of confusion when buying digital media research remains a key barrier to investment. At the very minimum, this not only leads to frustration and inefficiency but also to research that doesn’t answer the business question it was intended to address. The IAB Europe Digital Brand Advertising and Measurement report quantifies what we know intuitively and highlights just how much further we have to go. Undertaken in 2018, the research established that over 8/10 industry professionals believed that agreed metrics and KPIs would drive more brand investment in our industry. There is a clear consensus that lack of alignment stymies growth. 

It is no secret that media planning, execution and measurement continues to become more complex and efforts to ensure consumer privacy increase that complexity.

Our members have also given us considerable feedback that the digital measurement industry is hard to navigate, overly-complex and rife with company-specific acronyms and terminology that turns buyers off. This ultimately leads to lower investment in quality measurement taking place and this can only be a bad thing for the credibility of our industry and the wider goal of facilitating the realignment of media spend from traditional channels.

IAB Europe’s new Effectiveness Measurement Framework initiative aims to provide clarity and transparency on the digital advertising measurement landscape.  The objective is to enhance industry understanding of the research methodologies and products available, but critically, a first step is to examine the language used across the industry and to demystify so that buyers (our members)  can make informed decisions when spending their precious research budgets.

They Survey and Key findings

The IAB Europe Effectiveness Measurement survey is the largest regional study of this kind. The majority of both the major global digital measurement companies as well as many of the boutique agencies offering measurement services were included in our sample. The results were instantly stark indicating little to no commonality. Whilst similar terms arise, they are often used to describe different types of outcomes. Encouragingly, there is evidence that brands are adopting  the language and framework used by the research agencies. This will help drive some commonality but the research paints a messy, complex and incoherent ecosystem that is difficult for even the most initiated buyers to navigate. Some of the key findings include:

  • 65% of the companies surveyed provide integrated measurement of brand-building and performance outcomes. 
  • 30-40% on average of business revenue is generated by media-related outcomes measurement
  • 45-50% on average of business revenue is attitudinal research of brand-related outcomes
  • Up to 25% on average is transactional business-related outcomes
  • 1/3 of the surveyed companies distinguish between short-, mid- and long-term for their effectiveness measurement services
  • Just 55% of analysis is provided by automated tools in real-time, 85% of the analysis is aggregated reporting and dashboards, usually post-campaign.
  • 90% of the surveyed companies have an internal common language when they speak to their clients about their measurement services. 
  • From the evidence provided, the language and frameworks used by each company differs and in the majority of instances so does the methodology. 75% have evidence that clients have adopted their framework.
  • In terms of measurement challenges, all companies cited access to walled gardens as a top challenge.  
  • The other top challenges cited are:
    • Clients knowledge and understanding of measurement agenda and practice – 73%
    • Size of panels and panel churn in key markets – 73%
    • Tracking prevention – 64%

Conclusions and Next Steps

From the analysis of survey results we see the following challenges or gaps in effectiveness measurement:

  • Cross-media coverage: it becomes harder to offer holistic coverage across media channels (traditional and digital platforms, including walled-gardens)
  • Campaign Optimisation: optimising campaigns in-flight is almost not possible as reporting is only available after a campaign has ended, limiting actionability and the ability to maximize performance.
  • Difficulties in set-up: many solutions are based on upfront data collection rather than on measurement report generation and usage, making it very difficult and expensive to facilitate continuous measurement.
  • Data governance: establishing privacy-safe ways to handle ad impression data across publishers with a clear understanding of data rights and ownership is getting more complex with new and upcoming consumer privacy related regulations

As a next step, in order to bring more clarity and transparency to the measurement landscape, IAB Europe will work with its Effectiveness Measurement Task Force to develop a ‘measurement supplier map’ which will aim to:

  • Bucket key areas of measurement into a simple and distinctive framework 
  • Match service providers and their respective products to specific buckets

Methodology and Participants

  • IAB Europe used an online survey to gather information from the measurement suppliers operating in Europe. The survey received responses from senior executives across 14 companies that provide measurement solutions across EMEA and globally. More than half of the companies that responded generate over 25M EUR revenue annually. 
  • Each of the companies surveyed have diversified portfolio of clients in FMCG, Auto, Finance, Retail, Entertainment and Media, Travel.

Get involved

Find out more information about the phases and objectives of IAB Europe’s Effectiveness Measurement Framework Project here.

If you are an IAB Europe member and would like to get involved in the Effectiveness Measurement Task Force, email Marie-Clare Puffett, Marketing & Business Programmes Manager –

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