MDA launches Malaysia’s first standardised online audience measurement system

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Effective Measure selected as official Internet audience measurement

The Malaysian Digital Association (MDA), a representative body comprising online publishers, advertising agencies, creative agencies and digital service providers, announced Malaysia’s first standardised system of online audience measurement, yesterday.
Online audience measurement provider Effective Measure was selected as the official Internet audience measurement "currency" for Malaysia. The provider uses a hybrid method of measurement that combines site tagging (voluntary embedding of a "tag code" on the site which gathers analytical and demographic data) and a voluntary panel community of over 15,000 Malaysians. At present, over 100 sites on Malaysia are tagged by Effective Measure and over 300 sites in the Southeast Asian region.
MDA president, Terence Dorairaj said at the press conference yesterday that Effective Measure was selected over other online providers, like ComScore, thanks to its flexibility and willingness to adapt to the local market. "Cost was also a significant factor as we need to drive high adoption rate among publishers and agencies," added Dorairaj.
The selection of a standardised solution was done in collaboration with the Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia (ABC), Media Specialists Association (MSA), the Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents of Malaysia (4As).
The adoption of this system as the media and advertising industry’s de facto standard for online measurement fulfills one the founding goals of the MDA. The association, which was established end-2009, currently has around 30 members including the major advertising agencies.
Dorairaj said that the appointment of Effective Measure would provide an unbiased and accurate picture of Internet usage in Malaysia. "This will provide advertisers, agencies and publishers with absolute confidence in this exciting medium. This standardisation will also bring much needed credibility and will be a catalyst for growth of the digital adex (advertising expenditure)," he said. Dorairaj added that for the measurement of the online adex, Nielsen Media Services will continue to be the industry’s accepted standard of measurement. In 1H2009, the Internet represented 0.7% or RM26 million of the adex pie, according to Nielsen figures.
Russell Conrad, regional director of Southeast Asia for Effective Measure, said at the press event that Effective Measure would be able to measure not only unique hits on participating websites, but chart its audience’s demographic profiles. "For example, we can tell you that English news sites in Malaysia attract the wealthiest and most engaged audiences of all the local news sites," said Conrad.
Starting mid to end of this month, all Malaysian online publishers who are members of the MDA will receive a basic monthly Dashboard-style report on key online statistics. Advertising agencies and advertisers will also have access to the Effective Measure system which provides a detailed overview of websites in Malaysia that have been tagged. "One of our key goals is to provide a tool that’s useful for media planning," added Conrad.
In future, the data provided by Effective Measure will be audited by the ABC. According to Serm Teck Choon, the MDA’s head of measurement and audit, "The MDA will be working in collaboration with the ABC to ensure that Effective Measure not only conforms to industry agreed standards of measurements, but is also able to provide raw data in line with ABC’s audit guidelines."
Tony Savarimuthu, vice president of the 4As said in a statement that the launch of the measurement index is "timely" and "will spur the growth of digital content providers". "Advertisers will look closer for true worth and media accountability and this index will act as a barometer to help them make better decisions," he added.
This article appeared on the Media & Advertising page, The Edge Financial Daily, Oct 12, 2010