Cross-Platform Measurement Insights from the ARF’s Scott McDonald

By Charlene Weisler

Scott McDonald, CEO and President of the ARF, believes that cross-platform measurement still has a way to go before a standardize-able system is in place. Talking at the recent SXSW conference, he explained his view on cross-platform advertising trends. “There still is no consistent definition and tracking of cross-platform advertising that would allow us to say that it has grown by X percent since last year,” he stated. “When people talk about cross-platform, they really mean TV + Digital, though the media mix is often a lot more complex than that.”  But there is hope that, “advertisers have taken to heart the admonition that cross-platform campaigns need to be integrated with common themes, copy and images – but tailored to the specific context in which they are presented to consumers.”

Among some of the major challenges to rolling out cross-platform advertising, McDonald lists the following:

  1. Exposure measurement – specifically measurement of unduplicated audience reach for specific targets.
  2. Cross-device identity – many of the identifiers don’t cross the platforms, contributing to the persistent “walled garden” problem.
  3. Because of this, it is difficult to manage campaign frequency and to get accurate results in back-end attribution models.

But there has been some measurement progress, he averred, with the industry moving toward a possible duration-weighted exposure measurement standard, “that would bridge the gap between linear TV and digital video – though the debate about the next ‘currency’ will continue to be hotly contested.”  Another positive trend is the improvement in automated content recognition and watermarking technologies that enable cross-platform measurement.

When it comes to 1-1 marketing, McDonald stated that, “It only works when there is a high level of REAL permission by the consumer because it requires so much personal information that it is prone to abuse.” And while we talk about efficiencies, there is still some value in some of the inefficiencies, by “letting people who are not current prospects know about your brand and build a favorable impression of it for later reference and action.”

Ultimately, for McDonald, there is no competition between the need for transparency for advertisers versus privacy for consumers. “Consumers need privacy and advertisers need to be transparent about what data they collect, what they do with it and how that benefits the consumer,” he concluded. 

Related Stories

08/14/22: Cynopsis Jobs

man balloons

AD SALES RESEARCH MANAGER TENNIS CHANNEL/SINCLAIR SPORTS GROUP NYC Support linear and digital national ad sales efforts with PowerPoint presentations using Nielsen, comScore, YouGov, MRI & Ipsos. Oversee submission of linear line ups for Tennis Channel. Create and update tracking reports on sports landscape. 3+ years’ experience with Nielsen national applications. Full info

08/12/22: Wanda Sykes to host syndicated series “Ring Nation”

Wanda Sykes to host syndicated series "Ring Nation"

Friday August 12, 2022 Today’s Premieres Apple TV+: Five Days at Memorial discovery+: Viagra: The Little Blue Pill That Changed the World Disney: Hamster and Gretel at 9:35p FX: Children of the Underground at 8p Hulu: This Fool Netflix: A Model Family; Never Have I Ever Prime Video: A League of Their Own; Cosmic Love […]

08/11/22: EA & NFL go long on MCS

EA & NFL go long on MCS

  Thursday August 11, 2022 Good morning! It’s Thursday and this is your early morning Esports brief. Electronic Arts and the NFL secured a new multi-year partnership renewal for the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Championship Series, following the series’ best season in history. This year’s slate will wrap up with the Ultimate Madden NFL 23 […]

08/10/22: Cynopsis Jobs


TELEVISION & CROSS PLATFORM RESEARCH DIRECTOR TENNIS CHANNEL SANTA MONICA This highly visible role provides quantitative and qualitative research to all departments; includes research oversight of Tennis Channel, Tennis Channel International,,, Tennis Channel Plus OTT, TC app and Tennis Magazine. Expert level proficiency with Nielsen data systems, including NPower is required. Full info […]