The Supply Chain & Online Ad Industry

Supply chain executives and entrepreneurs looking to help a thriving market segment on the brink of transformation might want to look to the online advertising industry. The industry has begun to put in place metrics that make sense of measurements. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) launched a new initiative last week.

Making Measurement Make Sense aims to account for online ad processes and metrics. It will analyze digital measurements, define a common currency for measuring the number of times an ad appears online, develop standards for brand impact measurement online, and create an effective methodology for cross-media measurement.

The trade groups claim the “absence of a consistent approach to measuring and assessing the effects of digital media has resulted in a cacophony of competing and contradictory measurement systems, contributing to a complex and costly supply chain for the industry.” There are no better experts than those moving electronics through the manufacturing supply chain to form a set of best practices based on experience.

I realized this recently when Aaron Goldman, CMO at Kenshoo, a search engine marketing platform company, suggested that I should seek out a career in product development. I told him that it's easy to see the missing pieces in the online advertising industry, coming from the technology industry and having written about the electronics supply chain, IT, and emerging markets.

To make a difference in another market supply chain, executives don't need to know the nuances of the online advertising industry. They only need to share their expertise and knowledge. It's similar to the way students from around the world come to the United States to get an education.

Last month, immigrant entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley described how they were being forced to return to their native countries as a result of being unable to get a visa to allow them to stay in the United States, even after graduating from a prestigious school like the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

With a US education and new skills, they're returning home to start Web-based or Groupon-like businesses like SnapDeal in India. This is good for their native countries. In fact, it's great when you can bring what you've learned from one industry or country to another.

The Making Measurement Make Sense initiative will assist the online advertising industry to measure digital and cross-media platforms — display, video, and search engine marketing — and follow and connect with consumers in target markets. Supply chain executives can share their knowledge to help transform a Web-based supply chain. Where can your expertise help?

5 comments on “The Supply Chain & Online Ad Industry

  1. Ariella
    March 7, 2011

    It sounds like a great idea, applying their knowledge to improve results and achieve harmony in place of a “cacophony of competing and contradictory measurement systems” (I love the alliteration in that phrase).  

  2. Eldredge
    March 7, 2011

    It sounds like this could be an interesting, and somewhat challenging, project. Will they be monitoring where the ads are targeted, as well as frequency of viewing? How will they be able to measure the effectiveness of an on-line ad?

  3. Laurie Sullivan
    March 8, 2011

    Hello Eldredge:

    Yes, they will monitor where ads get targeted, as well as the frequency. When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of an online ad, you ask a huge question. Yes, they will monitor the influence. Companies do it now. Your browser, tags in ads, and website frame tags already monitor every click and movement people make online. There's targeting, retargeting, and behavioral targeting. Heat maps that estimate the content someone viewed and for how long, and what they clicked on or didn't. If you look at the browser window toward the left bottom of the page every time you click on something while on a website you can see where the information is sent. Try it. Go to your favorite website and watch the data being sent to third-parties in a stream of website tags that might read: or The data also tells you the ad serving platform that won the bid in real time to serve up the ad to you.



  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 8, 2011

    Thank goodness someone is trying to do this. As for the supply chain, if there is one thing it does well is track stuff–at least in distribution. But hardware is one thing–impressions are another. I've always had a problem with this abstract so some kind of yardstick is crucial. Rock on, measurement people!

  5. Tim Votapka
    March 8, 2011

    A hearty round of applause from me on this issue. I think there are some very astute marketing managers out there who really get the value and potential of a consistent online presence. There are many more I fear who don't, and no matter how many times you show them the hit/click/visitor metrics, there's an aberrated belief that the traffic was meaningless because the phone didn't ring. To me that's an indication of a serious lack of understanding of the audience and that's where marketing leaders need to be dauntless.

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