Avenue A to Sell GRP Tool

Avenue A is banking that the recent buzz around reach-based pricing will prove lucrative, as the firm rolls out its GRP and Reach Forecaster tool for media planners.

The tool, created by Avenue A’s Atlas DMT technology unit, incorporates data gleaned from its Atlas ad serving and optimization suite with data from an undisclosed provider of Web site demographic information. The combined data helps media planners predict campaign reach, with an eye to calculating Gross Ratings Points and Targeted Ratings Points.

As a result, the Seattle-based online marketer and technology player’s new product, for which it’s filed for patent protection, is the first of what’s likely to be a major trend in third-party Web metrics providers, as publishers and media buyers begin thinking about online media in terms of audience, rather than just impressions.

Many in the industry believe that by doing so, sellers of online ad will be better equipped to compete with offline media, which has long been sold by GRPs/TRPs. At the very least, online reach metrics stand to make it easier for planners to better compare traditional and Web buys.

“There have been two major barriers to the growth of online advertising: it is highly complex and there is a lack of standardized metrics that compare online media and offline media,” said Atlas DMT president Tom Sperry. “Atlas DMT is solving both of these issues.”

Accordingly, some agency and ad research groups have endorsed the company’s new tool, which they credit for pushing the envelope.

“This is a tremendous step forward for the advertising industry. Traditional agencies and media planners have been searching for a way to evaluate the potential effectiveness of online advertising alongside traditional media,” said Michael Donahue, executive vice president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.”

Added Advertising Research Foundation president Jim Spaeth, “Media planners need an accurate reach and frequency method for online media — one that recognizes the unique dynamics of Web usage. The goal of the GRP and Reach Forecaster is to help media planners easily integrate online media into the media planning process. This marks true innovation.”

The announcement comes two weeks after the @d:Tech trade show and the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual meeting in New York, during both of which a host of industry leaders spoke out in favor of the adoption of GRP-like metrics.

Earlier this month, Forbes.com joined New York Times Digital in selling reach- and frequency-based packages to advertisers. Forbes said it would charge a 10 percent premium over current impression-based rate card figures.

Such an offering “gives advertisers both the more traditional metrics of an offline buy, with the interactive dimension of the Web,” said Forbes.com president and chief executive Jim Spanfeller at the time.

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