Measurement Remains Thorny Ad Issue

The online advertising industry needs better and more trusted site measurement standards, according to a new survey of more than 150 advertising folks, 75 percent of whom think the traffic statistics in the media kits for most Web companies are inaccurate.

The survey, sponsored by Woburn, Mass.-based Web measurement firm Internet Profiles Corp. (I/PRO), found that respondents continue to believe in online advertising, saying that it “holds strong promise despite the recent economic slide.”

But the survey shows that ad types overwhelmingly agree that the industry needs better and more trusted site measurement standards.

The study, not coincidentally, comes on the heels of I/PRO’s release of its own measurement standards — aimed at addressing this problem. But the measurement firm isn’t only one that believes this is an important issue for the industry. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for publishers and other media sellers, recently established guidelines for how best to measure ad impressions — a mammoth task, considering that there are a multitude of different ad serving systems and procedures in place.

According to the survey, measurement standards and more reliable targeting are the two greatest factors needed to make online advertising more effective, cited by 72 percent and 63 percent of survey respondents, respectively.

In fact, when asked why they don’t advertise on the Internet, “Lack of reliable performance measures” is cited by 36 percent of the respondents — more than any other answer.

“This is a call to arms for better trust in the information that Web sites provide to advertisers…” said Ray Kingman, chief executive officer of TopicalNet, I/PRO’s parent company. “The advertisers that took part in this survey agree that online advertising is far from dead, and they know what it will take to restore the industry’s growth.”

The I/PRO poll was conducted through IntelliSurvey, and respondents included nearly 150 advertising executives from both online and off-line media, representing greater than $12 billion in billings.

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