Why the digital industry needs to 'take a long hard look at itself'

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 16 October 2017
John Miskelly.

“The digital industry needs to take a long hard look at itself”, says GroupM's chief digital officer John Miskelly.

Speaking on an AdNews podcast, recorded at Nova Entertainment and sponsored by The Trade Desk, Miskelly joined Multi Channel Network national sales director Nick Young, AdNews online editor Pippa Chambers and AdNews journalist Arvind Hickman.

From the problems with monetising connected TV; to poor frequency capping, the “shock” of the CBS deal and why industry silos and metrics challenges still very much prevail, the podcast was one of the meatiest yet.

Kicking straight off with thoughts on why Facebook is producing figures that are so much larger than the population, following AdNews revelations that the social media platform says it can reach 1.7m more young adult users than Aussie population, Young said it's the “double standard” that gets to him - given Facebook is allowed to use its own figures, whereas other mediums aren't allowed to.

See all our AdNews podcasts here

He argued that Facebook must be third party measured.

“They seem to continually get away with issues and challenges because of their own measurement that the TV industry and even the digital side of our business couldn't get away with as we have to be third party measured,” Young said.

Metrics queries were raised after sizeable gaps in census data and Facebook data raised questions about how Facebook calculates its audience, what this is made up of and whether advertisers and media buyers should rely solely on Facebook's figures when planning mass reach campaigns on the platform.

Nothing sinister

Miskelly said even if you call into question the census data methodology it's still an independent and good representation of the population as it's independent.

He said from a Facebook point of view, despite how accurate it might claim its data to be, “you just can't measure yourself”, Miskelly said.

“I don't think there's anything sinister done from Facebook. They just believe that their data is the most accurate data so they probably wouldn’t have even thought to compare it against it [census] – as their view of life is that they’ve got the most robust dataset on consumers and insights so therefore it must be the source of truth,” he said.

“I don't think they are trying to trick anyone or dupe anyone but the fact goes back to the matter that it has to be independent and the methodology behind these things needs to be open and not black box.”

The AdNews podcast also hit off views on the news of CBS buying Network Ten, with Young saying while he was personally shocked, but  “regardless of who owns Ten, a strong Ten is a very positive thing for the industry”.

Young argued that it's the sooner the better when it comes to the acquisition changes shaking out and added that to truly engage audiences at scale, CBS must invest in local content.

Miskelly says it's a great thing and that a US streaming player will “help freshen the industry up”. While no expert in that specific field, he guessed CBS is likely to try and take as much of its US content as it can to then deploy into Australia.

See: CBS arrival poses 'no threat' to Stan's Showtime deal; CEO Mike Sneesby

Other hot topics discussed saw Miskelly challenge the 'single view of the audience' and he argued he's yet to see anything that suggests more than 10% to 15% of ad spend should be put into catchup TV.

Young also spoke about the growth in TV, the rise of the connected TV – despite the lack of viewabilty metrics and what better to finish on than a spot of last touch attribution.

Listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud below or here on iTunes.

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