Mediaweek has a report on a lively panel discussion of digital magazine auditing at yesterday’s PPA annual conference:

…during the ‘Magic Numbers’ panel session, Tye (James Tye, CEO of Dennis) called for industry measured data to be produced faster rather than waiting on the “perfect”, multi-platform measuring solution for brands.

Tye said that despite the iPad “being around for a year now”, Dennis has not been able to tell its commercial partners officially how many readers download its magazine iPad editions, such as Mac User.

“My worry is we have a system built on the past five decades, we need to build it faster and more reactive to what the customer want,” he said.

“The iPad has been around for a year now, yet only now can we start to think about including it in our future auditing certificates”, he continued. “As an industry I think we’ve got to learn to move quicker than that.” MediaWeek ‘PPA 2011: ABC under fire for ‘five decades old auditing system’

Rupert Turnball, publisher of Conde Nast’s Wired, also had some highly pertinent questions for the magazine audit organizations: “we are interested in measuring engagement and influence and the ability to amplify messages, and that’s not measured at the moment.” That is certainly something that advertisers and big brands are deeply interested in when it comes to digital media. The problem that the magazine industry faces is that there are plenty of solutions, and an increasingly perplexing range of digital advertising metrics (Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture, Hitwise, Flurry etc), but none of them are specific to the magazine industry. Since none of the digital advertising platforms (Google, Yahoo/Microsoft, Apple, Facebook …. etc) are specific to the magazine industry, none of the digital audit tools that are evolving will be specific to the magazine industry. Perhaps the most useful role that the magazine-specific audit bureaux could now play is to recognise that there is no longer a sensible role for narrowly magazine-based audit functions.

Digital advertising is multiplatform and multipolar and so it follows that the audit role has to integrate with the best tools across the web and mobile marketplace. Digital magazines have extraordinarily rich potential for advertisers, and influencers, but the challenge is to find a way of demonstrating and leveraging this without resorting to the simplifications of the one page audit certificate.