IAB Launches ARM Guidelines


The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the release for public comment of Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines, a major industry-wide initiative that provides clear, consistent definitions of metrics and sets standards for how to measure unique audience across different methodologies. The guidelines were released at the IAB’s annual Leadership Forum on Audience Measurement in New York City, where leaders of media companies, measurement companies and advertising agencies convened to gain insights on the evolution of audience measurement and where sessions will be devoted to a detailed review of the proposed guidelines.

“These guidelines represent an industry wide endorsement of clarity and transparency of methodologies and metrics, particularly around reach, a core metric used throughout the media world,” said Sherrill Mane, senior vice president, Industry Services of the IAB. “The driving force for marketers’ ongoing embrace of interactive media is the accountability that interactive provides and these guidelines will enhance that clarity and certainty.”

The gathering, reporting, and measurement of audience metrics has a material impact on interactive media buying decisions. Transparency into these methodologies and clear definitions of commonly used terms are critical to the ongoing growth of interactive media as marketers continue to allocate a larger portion of their budget to the platform.

The guidelines will address these key areas of audience measurement:
* Provide definitions of key industry metrics such as unique users, unique cookies, unique browsers, visits and time spent.
* Establish a framework for all measurement providers to have their methodologies audited, providing greater certainty for the industry.
* Foster greater accuracy and reliability of all forms of online audience measurement, whether based on server data, online panels or user registration.

“Audience size and composition are vital to planning interactive advertising campaigns,” said Lynn Gutstadt, Director of Corporate Research, CBS Interactive and a member of the IAB’s Audience Measurement Working Group. “Adoption of these guidelines by the interactive industry will give marketers, agencies and other stakeholders in the digital ecosystem greater certainty in the measurement of our audience.”

“Ongoing Media Rating Council (MRC) audits of several of the syndicated measurement companies represent a commendable step toward accountability,” said George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director of the MRC. “The completion of the IAB Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines paves the way for other measurement organizations, for example census measurers such as sites, ad-servers or analytics organizations, to have rigorous consistent guidelines to help ensure consistent measurements of unique cookies, devices or in certain circumstances even users.”

Members of the industry (advertising agencies, advertisers, online publishers and technology vendors) are encouraged to read the proposed guidelines and submit comments on the IAB site at www.iab.net/audiencemeasurement. After the comment period closes on January 20, 2009, the feedback will be reviewed and the guidelines will be finalized and released.