CANNES – Brands need to break away from the limitations of traditional digital ad measurement, to embrace a world in which they can achieve true business outcomes.

That is according to the tech chief of one leading ad agency.

Compared with analog, digital advertising may be sophisticated but, without having full sight of outcomes like actual sales, for years the industry has relied on currencies that measure things like clicks.

But that is changing, says IPG Mediabrands chief data and technology officer Arun Kumar.

“We do have an addiction to measuring proxies,” he tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“For too long in the industry, we’ve talked about proxies (as metrics), because of our inability to measure the outcome.”

“Advertising has had a problem that broadband has had (in emerging markets) for a long time – the problem of ‘the last mile’. You bring the wire all the way up to the house and then it’s not in the apartment.”

In Kumar’s world, the advertising industry would close that last mile, helping advertisers to understand true business outcomes by abandoning proxy metrics like clicks, and instead by embracing true outcomes data that can, nowadays, be linked to online instigators.

Increasingly, new measuring techniques can capture a moment of sale and cross-reference data trails to match the purchase to the user who saw ads that motivated the decision.

“There are a fair amount of clients making the move,” says Kumar, “saying, ’It’s important for us to go beyond proxies’.

“We desire to drive outcomes. The outcomes are always business-related. It’s a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.”

This video is from The Mastercard Automated Advertising Panel at Cannes Lions 2017. For more from the series, please visit this page. Kumar was a panelist at this event.