In the Caribbean, we have a severe lack of data on our Digital Advertising markets. The Caribbean region is neglected by the international firms that measure online ad spending. The big players such as Nielsen and comScore have judged our region to be too small to support the costs of measuring online advertising. And those costs are significant. All the systems require an expensive combination of proprietary census tools, advertiser surveys, and large consumer panels to drive their measurement services. And the problem of not having this data is only getting worse. When we look at the world-wide trends in advertising the urgency to find a way to track digital spending for the Caribbean region becomes apparent, “The internet is still the fastest growing medium by some distance. We estimate that internet adspend grew 20% year on year in 2015, and we forecast an average growth rate of 13% a year between 2015 and 2018. Internet advertising accounted for 29.9% of global ad expenditure in 2015, up from 26.0% in 2014. By 2018 we expect internet advertising to attract 38.4% of all global advertising, after overtaking television to become the world’s largest advertising medium in 2017.” (“Advertising Expenditure Forecasts June 2016”, Zenith) In the Caribbean our inability to see how this global trend is playing out in our own markets is creating a collective industry blind-spot. We need to come up with our own solution. The Caribbean’s small nation states have always taken great pride in the ability to punch above our weight and our history of coming up with solutions that overcome any obstacles that our size might pose. Which gives us confidence as it has become clear that we are going to have to solve this problem ourselves. Media InSite, the leaders in media monitoring in the Caribbean, reached this conclusion some time ago. After extensive research, they also realized, that this is an industry-wide problem that will require industry-wide cooperation to solve. That is why CEO of Media InSite, Allison Demas took the opportunity provided by speaking at the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s 47th Annual Conference in Havana Cuba, to ask for the help of the media professionals present, in building that solution. During her talk on the role of media monitoring in the advertising industry, she pointed to the problem posed by digital advertising and called for the collective effort of media players across the Caribbean to come together and help her and Media InSite build a solution.
Here is an exert from Ms. Demas’ presentation, “At Media InSite, we’ve been thinking about this problem for a while now. After a lot of research and discussions with our clients we’ve concluded that the most viable method for measuring Caribbean online advertising activity is via publisher and advertiser surveys. Using a neutral and trusted third party to manage the process, this method would collect real world data from the companies that buy and sell online advertising, remove all identifying information, and aggregate the data for use by the entire market of media houses and advertisers.” She went on to point to the experience of Media InSite of implementing its own solution to allow the independent tracking of traditional media activities. They currently record and report on every single advert that runs on TV, Radio and Press in the Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago markets. With this experience behind them, they are very confident that a solution is possible and have been and will continue to work on creating that solution. The problem of missing data on digital advertising is like searching for that missing piece of a puzzle, but in this case, it will need the help of the whole advertising industry to find. Together we can solve this puzzle.