The MFA recently sent out a memo to all members compelling them to demand audited traffic data from all websites they deal with in an advertising sense.
The memo came from Kerry Field, who heads up the MFA’s Digital Committee. She asked members to “please encourage your staff to start demanding online publishers for audited numbers.”
As someone who works in the media world, and also as a member of the MFA I can’t applaud this initiative enough.
Gary Hardwick – who chairs the MFA commented.
“Our industry spends billions a year making media placement decisions and rightly so, our clients are increasingly looking for confidence in the decisions we are making on their business – this is why transparency and accuracy of data and information is mandatory. The ABA audited web data process, without question provides this confidence and I encourage our industry to be extremely cautious about using numbers that have not agreed to undergo this process to make these commercial decisions. The truth is in the detail and for sites that are not audited, can we believe in the numbers?”
What basically happened is the MFA and ABA sat down over an extended period and worked out a set of agreed criteria around ‘fair play’ when it came to things like Auto-Refresh and other actions that impact on the effectiveness of advertiser investments. A set of guidelines was drafted and passed by the MFA for the ABA to regulate.
The letter sent to members can be found here … http://www.auditbureau.org.au/abacus/MFA%20Web%20Audit%20Endorsement%20Letter.pdf
The issue right now is not enough sites have not taken part in an audit with the ABA – or if they have, they haven’t passed. The list of sites that are not audited currently are some of Australia’s largest (you can tell the sites that are audited by a green box with a white tick within it)
– all ninemsn sites
– all Fairfax digital sites excluding the AFR
– all News Digital Media sites
– all Bigpond sites
– all Yahoo! sites
In fact the only groups to have passed the ABA guidelines with websites in the top 200 for AU are
– Sound Alliance
– CBS Interactive
– The Australian Financial Review
Interestingly all members of the IAB are not currently compliant with the initiative.
On that topic, Gordon Towell of the ABA told B&T “There is now no reason for any publisher not to participate given the low-cost to audit and the opportunity to provide credible information to their media buyers and advertisers.”
Demand audited data!