On April 16th the Association of Downloadable Media released two documents relating to Unit Standards and Download Measurement Guidelines. This is the main thrust of what the ADM was put together for…being able to bring some semblance of standardization to a medium that thrives on not having any.
My point to applying metrics to podcasting, etc has always been to provide a way of proving that the media is reaching users and it actually works for those who choose to advertise through that media. These new standards and guidelines move to do this, but still have a way to go.
The first document outlining unit standards is quite straight forward. Not much need to dwell on this one, though the phrase “Sponsored Interstitials” sounds more like invasive surgery than an advertising vehicle. Point of fact; interstitial, according to Webster, relates to interstices meaning a space that intervenes between things. Actually one of the definitions for interstitial itself is; situated within but not restricted to or characteristic of a particular organ or tissue. Ouch. I’d rethink this one.
The second document outlining measurement guidelines will scare the living crap out of any media buyer. This will take some serious education. Look, I pride myself on being able to translate new media speak to traditional media speak…and this one took me a few brain cells to get. (I also won’t swear to the fact I completely get all of it.) But I do get that the bottom line on these guidelines is to make sure your metrics are based on reality, not fantasy. Depending on their source, all downloads or IP requests are not created equal. What the ADM is trying to get to is what counts and what doesn’t as a download and the advertising therein. Buyers want to know they are spending money on reaching people not web robots, spiders, and crawlers (All together now, eeeeewwwww!).
Though this is a start, one that is necessary and one that you can freely comment on, it’s still all based on quantity not quality. Perhaps that’s something that can never really be standardized. Yes, we need to provide real numbers of real users but we, as online media providers, need to prove that we are impacting them as well. Moving them to act, giving the advertiser real return on investment.
Provide a consistent language and standard of measurement? Yes. Educate the buyer on those standards? Oh yeah! But look to move past just this “quantity of audience”. Traditional media has based their livelihood on it and it is really starting to kick their butts.