BPA Announces New Rules For Integrated Audits
BPA Worldwide has updated its auditing process in an effort to help publishers transition into fully reporting audience data across integrated channels, the organization announced last month.
New audit reports will increase options for publishers not yet prepared to offer a count of unique recipients in multiple channels of content distribution. BPA introduced the ability to record uniques in particular channels last year with its Integrated Brand Reach (IBR) audit, which measures both gross numbers of recipients for each media channel and net counts of unique recipients.
"There was a need to show all channels, and unique individuals who consume across those channels, so [publishers] can show marketers that the people who get the magazine are not the same ones who get e-newsletters, etc.," Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide, tells Publishing Executive. As a result, BPA eliminated separate audit forms for each content channel and allowed for more specific accounting of how integrated products are being consumed. "We had to rethink our model to say the brand is the member of BPA, not the channel," he says.
The difficulty for many publishers came from not yet having invested in a comprehensive integrated data collection system, Hansen says.
"The first few publishers who did it had an integrated database [and] could efficiently add more channels to their audit, and we only had to audit once. Now we come up against publishers who do not have an integrated database across all channels," because different vendors handle data for various products, such as whitepapers, webinars and e-newsletters, he says.
As a result, BPA has introduced the option to verify recipients per channel without identifying overlap, with a disclaimer on audit reports stating "no attempt has been made to identify or eliminate duplication that may exist across all media channels." Publishers with a truly integrated database will be able to report gross recipients of each channel, the number of uniques served and the overlap in channels delivered, with no such disclaimer needed.
"The ultimate end game is for publishers to all be on an integrated system," Hansen notes. "The question became, should we wait, or should we take the thought leadership position and say, 'Let's look at how many years it should take [for publishers to adopt an integrated system].'" In consultation with industry groups the BPA has set a goal of all publishers reporting uniques across all platforms by 2014. "If those three years turn out to be too soon we'll revisit it again," he says.
Hansen says an investment of time, effort and resources is needed to achieve an integrated data system, with the payback coming from being able to streamline reporting and customize strategies for advertisers. "The media owner must first see the value in maintaining an integrated data structure for all their channels," he says. "If not, they can certainly do a one off every six months or year and merge/purge all their databases into one. But most fulfillment companies will tell you, if that is to be done it makes sense to then do it on an ongoing basis."