The Potential for New Digital Metrics for Global Media
The tablet has powerful implications for the storytelling and reporting that readers value, and for the advertising they embrace as part of their magazine experience. Tablet technology is creating an incredible opportunity for magazine media to grow and reach new audiences. In 2012, the MPA in the US organized its members into a working party and issued five metrics they would like to see their members report for digital circulation:
1) Total consumer paid digital issues (consumer paid subscriptions and single paid issues),
2) Total number of tablet readers per issue (issues opened by individual devices),
3) Total number of sessions per issue (aggregate number of times an issue was accessed),
4) Total amount of time spent per reader per issue (time spent, on average, with an issue across the total audience),
5) Average number of sessions per reader per issue (the average number of times each reader accessed the issue).
While these metrics are optional, they are gaining traction. Adobe DPS, one of the largest digital service providers has incorporated the MPA metrics into their baseline reporting dashboard. Others will likely follow.
My organisation BPA Worldwide has been reporting digital editions since 2002. Since then we have been treating digital distribution as a separate distribution channel for the magazine and newspaper, and have been reporting digital data in alignment with its print counterpart.
Essentially, we have been reporting successful distribution. Over the years we have revisited engagement level reporting, but there has been very little interest in reporting information beyond successful distribution. While it has always been an option for publishers to report additional metrics on digital circulation, very few have reported beyond distribution, and those that have only did so for a very short period.
There are now two questions to consider. Firstly, given the ability to produce detailed digital metrics across all digital platforms, are media owners and their agencies or direct advertisers ready for it? And secondly, with a boundaryless digital world, is a global standard needed for transparency in digital metrics to allow comparability? To that end, the BPA are proposing FIPP join with the International Advertising Association (IAA) and the International Federation of Audit Bureaus (IFABC) to review best practices amongst their national member organizations and vet these to establish THE GLOBAL STANDARD, and would welcome your input to on the intiative.