Measurement Standards Still Dog Online Ad Industry

Does the online advertising universe need yet another industry organization to bring cohesion and a sense of order?

Well, yes, at least in the area of measurement standards, according to the group of industry heavyweights that banded together to form the Advertising Standards Alliance (ASA).

Standards have been the bugaboo of the online ad game for several years. It’s not hard to recall just a few years ago when there was next to no agreement even on such things as standard banner sizes.

Now, the issue appears to be measurement. New standards would allow those making ad buys to know exactly who is serving a particular ad, said the ASA.

Member companies have decided to develop an identifier code to let the buyer know exactly who is responsible for an ad’s placement.

“This is not another bottleneck organization; we feel we are closest to the technologies and the issues,” Lyn Chitow Oakes, COO of ad network and ASA member Flycast Communications, told ChannelSeven.com’s NarrowCast. “We have already come to one point of view on some things and we want to work closely with other organizations.”

Those other organizations include the Internet Advertising Bureau , which was set up in part to address standards issues, and FAST (Future of Advertising Stakeholders).

“With the ASA focusing on the specific needs of third-party ad servers and ad networks, we are looking forward to seeing how their recommendations may apply within the much broader focus of both the IAB and FAST,” IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy told Internet Advertising Report.

“The ASA is a perfect example of the focus necessary to make headway on critical issues facing the online advertising community,” said Kate Everett-Thorp, president and CEO of interactive advertising agency Lot21 and chairperson of the ad standards committee for FAST (Future of Advertising Stakeholders).

“We are thrilled to see standards created and implemented among the ad serving community that will help us better determine how effective an ad campaign is in terms of audience reach and frequency.”

The new measurement standard, which defines both the entity that sold the ad and the entity that served the ad, will be implemented by all ASA member companies within the next six months, the group said. A number of third-party companies are also supporting the standard, including Media Metrix and Nielsen NetRatings.

Initial member companies in the ASA are 24/7 Media, AdForce, Adsmart, BURST! Media, DoubleClick, Engage, Flycast Communications, Microsoft bCentral, Real Media, Sabela Media, SmartAge.com, Teknosurf.com and ValueClick. The group apparently will have a Web site at www.adstandard.org, but it is not operational yet.

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