International media auditing evolves to adapt to the digital era in a global shift

International media auditing evolves to adapt to the digital era in a global shift

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WFA News

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  • Author:WFA


27 November 2015
International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations now to be known as International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification, reflecting diversification of media industry

While print circulation numbers used to define a media brand, now they are simply one measurement among many. For this reason, the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations, founded in Stockholm in 1963 and now with members in over 36 countries, has announced a rebranding strategy. It will become the International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification to reflect its holistic approach to media measurement following the mass digitalisation and diversification of the media industry worldwide.

The rebranding of the IFABC is a response to the evolution of media business models worldwide and points to an increasingly digital and diverse future. The identities of published media brand owners are no longer simply defined by their print publications, but they have now evolved into wider media brands with multiple products such as websites, events, seminars, conferences, apps, videos, podcasts, webchats and more.

Certification, rather than circulation, much more accurately represents what audit bureaux cover and how nimbly they react %u2013 it's no longer just copies issued or sold, but viewers reached through multiple devices, online editions, digital publications, measured by newsletter subscribers, monthly uniques, active views and daily views, to name just a few.

Members across the IFABC's broadly representative countries worldwide have already demonstrated proficient measuring practices under a model of certification over circulation. In Hong Kong, for example, mobile app publishers can audit not just downloads, but, by platform, number of app visits, app visit duration, page views and social platform followers. This transition allows all parts of the ecosystem - media brand owners, advertisers and advertising agencies - to have the confidence to invest further in app-based advertising.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the ABC's work with TV broadcast measurement body BARB as part of Project Dovetail is a world-first, in response to fragmenting patterns of viewership and the proliferation of platforms, channels and catch-up services. It provides an independent , industry-standard audit of viewing on broadcasters' media players both linear and VOD.

In Spain, the OJD has recently passed a set of rules to determine the metrics and reporting for out of home, which includes both traffic and audience impression for media properties that have a face recognition system installed. This new framework provides a consistent accounting method to understand the real audience of digital signage, rather than just trusting audience data based on samples.

And in Brazil, the IVC has rolled out independent ad campaign auditing as well as its own web-analytics tag to provide an independent source of evidence. It has shifted all digital auditing to this methodology, with the result that around 80 websites are crunching data of more than 2 billion page views monthly. The same technology has been adapted to also audit app performance.

IFABC president Pedro Silva comments: "Our move to certification over circulation strengthens each part of the media brand value chain and allows the whole to be greater than the sum of their parts. Media brand owners can make money from each and every one of their different products far more effectively with the ability to highlight the growing diversity and reach of their products through independent certification %u2013 and make the case more credibly for investments in new forms of advertising.

"Media agencies can compare different media vehicles more consistently %u2013 offering to brand clients greater levels of trust, transparency and accountability in their advertising investments, and confidence in new formats. Advertisers in turn can be better assured that they are not just getting what they pay for, but will generate the ROI they and their stakeholders are demanding."

For more information, contact IFABC Secretary Jerry Wright on +441442 200812 or


The International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Certification (IFABC) is a voluntary federation of industry-sponsored organisations that have been established in nations throughout the world. IFABC members have a common commitment to the accurate and transparent reporting of comparable print and new media performance data.

Its aim is to work with national and international organisations in any way that constructively supports the work of its members. The Federation seeks to encourage and facilitate the exchange of experience and best practice between member organisations, and is committed to working towards a greater standardisation and uniformity in the reporting of circulations and other data.

The IFABC actively encourages the establishment of an audit bureau of certification in countries where currently such a bureau does not exist.

Below is a list of countries which are ABC members:

Czech Republic
Hong Kong

Article details

  • Author:WFA


27 November 2015