- The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is launching a dedicated unit focused on measurement to improve adoption of industry standards, according to details shared with Marketing Dive. The new Measurement for Marketer's division (MFM) was unveiled today at ANA's Data & Measurement Conference in Naples, Florida.
- MFM will promote the adoption of standards from the Media Rating Council (MRC), develop new measurement solutions and rework existing ANA offerings to strengthen consumer privacy. The ANA emphasized that the unit aims to deepen its work with the MRC, a watchdog that accredits measurement companies and vendors on factors like viewability, brand safety and audience measurement.
- In a statement, ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice noted both the group and its members have in the past "relied heavily on joint trade association initiatives and on agencies and media sellers." He suggested the lack of dedicated internal resources from the ANA previously led to an inconsistent voice for advertisers, a gap that MFM looks to fill. MFM plans to be fully operational by January and will be spearheaded by ANA Group EVP Bill Tucker, who is also assembling the unit's leadership team.
The ANA is taking another crack at solving marketers' measurement problems with a unit that debuts amid deep uncertainty in digital advertising, with regulatory scrutiny looming and potentially affecting key aspects of the ecosystem. While data privacy has become the top issue for many businesses in recent years amid a flurry of scandals and the implementation of stricter consumer protection laws, measurement has proved a lingering pain point for marketers that are under greater pressure to prove results.
MFM extends the ANA's long-standing efforts to add clarity and consistency to digital media measurement. In 2011, the trade body partnered with peers like the IAB and 4A's to make sense of the space and create a common currency for marketers to use in evaluating digital media performance. But MFM seems to somewhat break with this model, centering less on collaboration with other trade groups and agencies and more on building out the ANA's in-house capabilities while still encouraging the broader adoption of standards set by the MRC.
Marketers have increasingly ramped up their calls for improved measurement, responding to the shortcomings of major platforms like Facebook and a general lack of progress in cleaning up the digital media pipeline. In a press release, ANA's Liodice cited a recent Integral Ad Science study that found 47% of surveyed industry professionals place the need for consistent media measurement as their No. 2 priority behind data privacy.
Some marketers and publishers are taking a more proactive approach to bettering measurement practices as other solutions fall short. In early 2019, Hershey, Tyson Foods and Meredith joined with ad-serving platform Thunder Experience Cloud to form an industry group called Truth in Measurement (TIM). TIM develops a technical standard for sharing and measuring advertising data and, like MFM, acknowledges a need for greater transparency and consumer privacy oversight.