September 17, 2015 Last Updated 1:19 pm

AAM digital certification of the La Presse+ app aims to make advertisers feel safe, confident

Joan Brehl, VP and General Manager, AAM Canada, explains the certification program that focuses on the advertising measurement processes integrated into the La Presse+ digital newspaper app

Last year, La Presse+ became the first tablet-based news platform with ad impressions certified by AAM. In a new case study, we delve deeper into the process and learn why La Presse+ volunteered for such an audit, what kind of reactions they’re receiving from the market and how their proprietary platform is impacting the newspaper industry.

Challenge: Taking a Risk with an Advertising-Only Revenue Model

LaPress-iPad-2015La Presse+ is a new digital medium that blends the best of print, web, mobile and video. Produced by La Presse, a Canadian French-language news medium, this free-subscription app for iPad and Android tablets delivers a comprehensive daily digital edition that includes all the La Presse newspaper’s editorial content and a variety of exclusive interactive content. It is delivered automatically to the tablet before 5:30 a.m., seven days a week. The app also features a section dedicated to breaking news.

The La Presse+ technology platform was developed entirely by La Presse. The project took three years of research and development and $40 million. With stakes this high, La Presse knew it needed significant advertiser backing to make its investment pay off.

A recent article from Nieman Lab summed up the risk, “The math behind it [La Presse+] stymies some observers. From the beginning, La Presse+ has been free. No meter. No subscription. No circulation revenue. Its revenue comes all from advertising.”

Solution: Make Advertisers Feel Safe and Confident

Bad behavior in the digital ecosystem effects all players. For publishers, it hinders sales efforts and credibility. For marketers it can hurt campaign effectiveness, cause wasteful ad spending and enormous frustration. Like the frustration expressed by ONE Inc., CEO Edward W. Boyd in a recent interview.

“Fraud is a major issue for advertisers and marketers, who, quite frankly, are becoming increasingly appalled at what is going on in the industry,” Boyd said. “The industry needs to align and stop fraud. We face enormous peril if we fail to do so.”

LaPresse-story-iPadLuc Tremblay, vice president of sales at La Presse, understood exactly what marketers like Boyd feared and devised a plan to foster trust. “In an environment where advertisers are more and more concerned about unseen ads, nonhuman traffic and fraud, we wanted to provide assurance that the methods La Presse+ uses to measure and count unique devices and ad impressions are transparent and in accordance with industry standards,” he said.

“We chose AAM to conduct the audit because they are recognized by advertisers and agencies throughout North America and they had already carried out many credible digital audits in the past.”

To ensure La Presse+ could speak confidently with advertisers about the ad impressions served, AAM developed a certification program that focused on the advertising measurement processes designed, developed and integrated into the La Presse+ app in both its iOS and Android versions, including the integrated software used to track reader activity (Localytics) and ad impressions (AdGear). More specifically, it validated how the app recorded unique devices by edition and advertising impressions, a highly valued metric that advertisers find in the performance reports for each of their campaigns.

It’s the type of certification that AAM has done countless times before, one designed to comply with guidelines set forth by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Mobile Marketing Association and Media Rating Council (MRC), which are supported by the digital communities in both Canada and the U.S.

Results: Audit Creates Efficiencies, Justifies Ad Rates

The AAM audit that certified the ad impressions of La Presse+ was a very rigorous, large-scale project requiring investment of resources, time and people.

“The AAM audit certified every system and process used to serve and measure ads delivered on La Presse+,” explained Tremblay. “The experience enabled us to correct some ways of doing things and to document certain activities more effectively.

Having your data acknowledged by a recognized third party like AAM undeniably adds credibility and helps justify your ad rates. More than ever, advertisers are sensitive to certifications from recognized bodies such as AAM.”

Other newspapers are taking note of the success La Presse+ is experiencing. Later this year, the Toronto Star will launch a new tablet edition based on the La Presse+ news platform technology. This agreement allows the Toronto Star and La Presse to share a common tablet technology and to offer attractive, joint marketing opportunities to national advertisers who desire access to French and English readers. (Note: The certification of La Presse+ does not extend to The Star.)

Does the future also hold more AAM certifications for La Presse+ as new technology and systems are adopted? Definitely, says Tremblay.

“We will certainly be renewing the certification of our ad impressions this year.”

Joan Brehl, is Vice President and General Manager, AAM Canada

Note: On Wednesday of this week, La Presse announced that due to the success of its digital edition, it would be going digital-only Monday through Friday (retaining its print Saturday edition). See the newspaper’s announcement here.

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