For branded Web content to be successful, marketers and creators need to set measurement and metric goals from the get-go, Digitas’ John McCarus told Beet.TV during an interview at OMMA Video in New York on June 16.

McCarus is the VP and group director for The Third Act, the branded content division of Digitas formed last year.

His group has shepherded a number of brand-led online video projects, such as Holiday Inn’s The Smart Show about business travel and Starburst’s vlogger initiative last summer in which the brand contracted popular video stars like Rhett and Link and David Jr. to create videos for the Starburst site

“We very much believe this has to be borne out of insight and driven by strategy,” McCarus said. “We have made progress in developing the kind of models to judge ROI and we are halfway home to the holy grail.”

Issues and challenges remain, such as how to measure and build audiences for branded content online to develop a community. To help grow the online video ad business, Digitas recently hosted “The New Front” event in New York that showcased Web entertainment projects from studios such as Generate, Next New Networks, Revision3, EQAL, and Deca.

Speaking about Deca, check out this story on the LA-based web studio in Business Week.

Daisy Whitney, Senior Producer