Changing attitudes towards digital thanks to better audience measurement.
MARYLOU ANDREW: When was Effective Measure established?
BRENDON OGILVY: Effective Measure was established in Melbourne in 2008. We are an audience measurement company providing transparency in terms of digital media and we serve agencies, clients and publishers. Interestingly, the first market we sold in was Dubai because we saw an opportunity. Our positioning is that we serve in emerging markets. Then we started to expand to South East Asia. Right now we cover Australia, New Zealand, all the South East Asian markets, including Hong Kong, India, the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and South Africa.
MLA: To what factors would you attribute this fast-paced growth?
BO: There is a need in these markets so there was a desire for someone like us to come in and help raise the maturity level.
We know this had an almost immediate impact on some markets especially in the Middle East, where online advertising spend has grown from $35 million three years ago to $160 million at present. One of the key factors in this growth, although not the only one, is that advertisers feel more confident about spending online because they know what they are spending on.
MLA: There is a lot of measurability on the web itself, so what does Effective Measure provide?
BO: Our USP is that we are a single source, so a planner or an advertiser can make buying decisions based on one solution. We don’t position ourselves as an analytics company which means we don’t compete with Google. We measure traffic and we do have some analytic capability in terms of page impressions, frequency count, average page duration, etc., but primarily where we are different is that we collect demographic information by surveys which help the planner decide where to place the campaign based on where the audience is. We also provide some psychographic information in terms of attitudinal perception towards different brands and what you do on a day to day basis.
#### Effective Measure, an online audience measurement company, came to Pakistan earlier this year. Brendon Ogilvy, the company’s Dubai-based VP for Digital Insights was recently in Pakistan and spoke to Marylou Andrew about changing attitudes towards digital thanks to better audience measurement.
MLA: You obviously need publisher cooperation to conduct your surveys. Is that difficult?
BO: Correct, but it’s not difficult at all. In the Middle East, for example, we collect over 400,000 surveys per month. We measure 750 sites in the Middle East and roughly 400 of those sites launch the survey. The benefit is that we allow the publisher to ask their own questions and to learn a little bit more about their own audiences.
MLA: Why did Effective Measure decide to come to Pakistan?
BO: We believe it is never too early to go to a market. We know that Pakistan is a large market and internet penetration is growing. It is an ideal time to come and assist the local industry and we will be here long term.
MLA: What will you need to be successful here?
BO: There are three key players: publishers, who are the lifeblood of our business; agencies, which need to buy into and use our tool and thirdly, the advertisers themselves. We know that there is a budget there but in this and many other markets, most of that budget has not been released to digital yet, and we know from both MNCs and local companies that there are restrictions in terms of not putting money in something unless they know it is going to work. This is very much our function, to say that if you spend money here we will give you results. This enables advertisers to spend more money, leading to growth.
MLA: What are your impressions from meeting people here?
BO: From the agency and advertiser point of view, they would love to have Effective Measure in this market as it would be beneficial for them, and the vast majority of publishers absolutely want to see this happen because they know it will have a direct impact on them. This is a classic environment which we have experienced in other markets and I think it is very similar to Jordan, which was dominated by print and TV so the digital guys were starved of revenue. Similarly, Pakistan is dominated by a collection of four or five large print publishers. In Jordan the print publishers have maintained their revenue from print, but their revenue from online has expanded as well and that is what I suspect will happen here.
MLA: Globally, who are your major competitors?
BO: There are two main competitors globally: ComScore and Nielsen. We are unique from the competition in that we are prepared to make inroads into emerging markets because we are flexible and exploratory and able to do things quickly. This is not a criticism of the competition but they are large corporates who have been around for a very long time and they don’t necessarily have the energy or want to take the risk of going to new markets.
MLA: Does your service extend to measuring internet access from mobile phones?
BO: Absolutely; we are in markets such as Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria where a whole generation has come to the internet via their handheld device. The main learning from those markets is that mobile is huge and used for everything, so the mobile is actually people’s portal to the world. We know that the usage patterns from mobiles are significantly higher because they are always with you.
MLA: What are your predictions for Pakistan’s digital market?
BO: I think this market will experience significant growth over the next two years. It is already finding its way in terms of publishers working out the best way to present their case to advertisers, and agencies are already becoming more educated and close to presenting a strong case to local and international clients that online is a viable medium. You will see one big advertiser spending significantly more on digital than they have in the past and others will follow and then it will take off. We have seen this in markets such as Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, the Middle East and Vietnam; it is the same pattern every time. The irony of the digital space is that there are analytics but clients still want third-party, independent measurement because publishers use different systems which are not comparable; what we provide is an apple to apple service.
MLA: Where have you had your biggest successes?
BO: The Middle East is big, but South East Asia has come up very quickly. Right now we measure half a billion people globally and increasingly we are seeing established brands from the West such as the BBC, Financial Times, LinkedIn, The Economist, Yahoo, etc., joining Effective Measure globally. We are at the stage where publishers are coming to us and that’s obviously a very good thing.
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