The need to measure impact across platforms and channels

Digital advertising fraught with bots and fake ad traffic


A mainstream business daily reported last week that rising investments in digital marketing are expected to reach US$ 300 billion in 2020. On the other hand, a digital media audit firm says that as much of 40% of the investment is based on fake ad traffic and bots. According to, ‘A bot (short for ‘robot’) is an automated program that runs over the Internet. Some bots run automatically, while others only execute commands when they receive specific input. There are many different types of bots, but some common examples include web crawlers, chat room bots, and malicious bots.’

Bots greatly inflate web traffic even on Google analytics and because they merely open the pages in automation fashion, they also dilute the dwell time on the content. The fake traffic uses content scraping websites and gets bots to click on the ads outside of a user’s view. Typically, digital ads are created that are invisible to the readers and clicked on by bots.

As per the Media Rating Council viewability standard, if 50% of the ad space is viewed by a human for 1 second, an ad impression is considered viewed; if 50% of the ad space is seen by a ‘human’ for 1 second for a static ad, it is chargeable. For a video ad, 50% of the ad space needs to be viewed for 2 seconds to be considered an impression.

There is a need to improve analytics for news media and even B2B media, especially across channels and preferably across both print and online platforms and channels. In this direction, the Published Audience Measurement Company funded by the UK News Media Association, the Professional Publishers Association and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and supported by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, has launched a new measurement tool that looks at audience delivery across all publisher platforms.

The new joint industry currency is claimed to have the capacity and flexibility to measure new types of published content and multiple platforms that can keep pace with digital developments and changing consumer habits. UK news and magazine publishers put their content on various platforms and the new currency measures across all of them. While print on paper remains the single biggest platform in the UK, there is a diversity of channels used by publishers and many want to be available on a variety of platforms. It makes sense for both advertisers and the publishers to be able to measure audiences on several channels as well as the overall impact across channels. This approach can also help agencies buy access to audiences across channels and even several publishers’ brands with a single buy.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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