Questex Adopts New Total Audience Audit Process
Publisher leaves BPA for 'nimbler' Verified Audit Circulation.
Newton, Massachusetts-based Questex Media is â€śre-engineeringâ€ť its auditing process to reflect an integrated, cross-platform audit statement. As a result, the company said it has cancelled its membership with BPA and will instead use Verified Audit Circulation as its auditing partner.
On the surface, the move reflects an advertiser-facing strategy to more accurately present product interaction metrics to marketers. A closer look, however, reveals a rift between new audience data being collected by publishers and the ability of audit firms to keep up.
â€śEven before the economic turmoil began, our customersâ€™ focus was shifting from mass reach to audience valueâ€”ultimately measured by results, not circulation statements that show print receivership,â€ť Tony Dâ€™Avino, Questex's executive vice president, said in a statement.
BPA did not immedately return a request for comment.
Questex's new statementsâ€”in effect with September issuesâ€”will separately present demos on each brandâ€™s media channels. Print, digital editions, events, Web sites, e-newsletters and supplements will all be broken out. Also tallied will be gross reachâ€”total of each channel including audience duplicationâ€”and unduplicated reachâ€”total unique number of audience members across each channel.
Heidi Spangler, Questex's audience development director, has been a long-time proponent of a wider, cross-platform brand audit. Spangler, the lead on a recent build-out of an integrated audience database, has noted that as the product platform mix grows, so must a publisherâ€™s ability to present customer data according to that product mix.
Speed to Market
The companyâ€™s switch to Larkspur, California-based Verified Audit Circulation reveals a level of frustration over BPAâ€™s consensus-based, but slower, approach to an integrated statement. While BPA recognizes the need for an integrated statement, and offers bundled reports that include Web site traffic and trade show audits, Questexâ€”with revenues north of $100 millionâ€”felt it needed faster solutions to a growing array of audience development options.
The move also, in a sense, places the audit decisions in the publisherâ€™s hands. â€śWe felt like BPA got so large that there has to be so much consensus to change things. [BPA] is up on things, but the statements havenâ€™t changed that much," Spangler said.
The decision came down to speed and flexibility, Spangler added. â€śThings are changing so fast. [Verified] is nimble and theyâ€™re not determining what we should audit. That was all it came down to. As new things develop, we want to respond to them and still have the auditing behind those claims.â€ť