Fifty publishers met at an AOP/ABCE breakfast forum this week, to discuss how AOP members can use web audits and measurement tools to accelerate the growth of online advertising spend, and particularly their own share of it.
Steve Filler, advertising and sponsorship manager for Guardian Unlimited
, explained that: “Accountability builds trust, and trust builds our business. We need to be very clear with agencies and clients that we know where our figures come from. It’s particularly important for AOP members (as trusted media brands) to have trusted, audited data.”
He added: “We need to work on taking share away from the other media, rather than fighting about metrics between ourselves.”
Tom Bureau, managing director of CNET Networks UK and an AOP Board member, questioned whether publishers could afford not
to have an ABCE audit.
He urged delegates to use an audit to prove a lot more than just a title’s top-line numbers. CNET’s Silicon.com
, a personalised broadband news and recruitment site for senior technology decision makers, had an ABCE audit of the demographic profile of its audience, proving that 19 per cent of its users were board directors, 42 per cent were senior IT management, and 59 per cent were senior decision makers.
“This enabled the sales team to gain substantial competitive advantage,” explained Bureau, “The agencies were saying, ‘If you can prove you can do that, I will buy you’. Silicon
became the leading UK enterprise tech site, displacing traditional media incumbents, having a big impact on our VCs, and leading to the sale of the business to CNET Networks. The ABCE audit was absolutely crucial to this success.”
AOP invited senior professionals from both traditional and new media planning and buying agencies to contribute to the debate.
Steve Goodman, group press director for MediaCom, agreed that for new players, audits are an important way for gaining trust and respectability from agencies: “It’s even more important for smaller titles and niche sites to be audited, in order for agencies to believe their numbers. Bigger publishers are able to get away with more because of their reputation.”
Craig Osborne, media director for Agency.com, blamed traditional agencies for slowing up the growth of online spend for fear of cutting their own profitability: “The shift to online will see a fundamental reduction in revenue streams for above-the-line creative and media agencies, whose reluctance to use the web is one of the biggest barriers to the growth of online as an advertising medium.”
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