Mario Paic  

Over a 20 year career, Mario Paic has worked on more JICs than most could name. Meet the Global Head of Data Science for Ipsos ... with a small group of colleagues, he's building Ipsos iris, the UKOM endorsed online audience measurement solution for the UK. 

Q1. Where did you grow up and where were you educated?

Zagreb, Croatia. I studied economics at the University of Zagreb. I’ve been with Ipsos in different roles since 2003 - in Croatia, Sydney Australia and now London.

Q2. What's your earliest computing memory? 

Mid 1980s and my father showed up at home with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, just a keyboard with rubber keys, you plugged it into the TV, your cassette player and gamed.

Q3. What audience measurement project do you wish you had worked on and why?

I can’t really think of a specific project but I would have liked to be in the industry when the first online measurement systems were deployed. Life was easier when PC was the only platform on which online content was consumed and there were less technical restrictions in place, no walled gardens. These days, audience measurement is more challenging, and requires us to constantly evolve our methods and deploy new technologies. This also makes it more exciting.

Q4. Who or what sparked your interest in audience measurement?

I stumbled upon it, I had no grand plan. But one thing led to another. My first proper job was interviewing for a company in Croatia that did TV audience measurement. I quite quickly moved on to do other jobs at the company: reporting, client service, running an AdEx service etc. That experience allowed me to learn about audience measurement from the ground up. Then, after a short stint at a start-up, I joined the largest local research company, that eventually became a part of Ipsos where I oversaw various syndicated products. At all three of those companies, I had the same boss, Ante Salinovic, who currently heads up audience measurement for Ipsos in the region. He was my early mentor.

Q5. What is something you've learned through your work that you lean on daily?

Audience measurement is such a complex, niche area but my job is all about people … people being exposed to the issues, wanting to learn, being curious, being precise in our judgment so that clients, agencies and publishers can be confident in their decisions on how to spend money. Having good people in the right places is everything.

Q6. What's the achievement you’re most proud of so far in your work in audience measurement?

For me, it’s launching emma [Enhanced Media Metrics Australia] which we introduced in 2013 as Australia’s cross-platform audience measurement currency for the published media industry. It was a massive project, and a profound change for the market, and I spent three years working on it as the technical lead on the project. Like PAMCo in the UK, emma helped Australia move away from print numbers to an overall print brand conversation.  

Q7. What's the biggest myth in audience measurement?

People often forget that no matter how complex our methods are and how precise are we measuring, it’s the consensus of the whole market that gives numbers authority. Another more recent one is the notion that anything, any problem or a gap in the data can be fixed by modelling. True to some extent, but things can’t be modelled out of thin air.

Q8. What's more exciting to you, cross device or cross media measurement? 

People are talking a lot right now about cross device and cross platform, everyone is looking at measuring video across all screens. But cross media is the Holy Grail and BBC Compass is probably the most exciting example of that.

Q9. What makes the Ipsos iris solution future proof?

It may seem counterintuitive, but Ipsos iris will continue to be useful in the future because we are putting people at the heart of our measurement. Ipsos iris will utilise a high-quality single source panel, possibly the largest anywhere, ready to measure cross media content - and advertising.

Q10. What’s the trick in making something like Ipsos iris that is so inherently complex and specialist, simple and accessible to the layperson?

Marketing and design. You’re right that this is a complicated sector and we’re never going to get people to remember the intricacies of the solution. So we will be really clear that the key product benefits of Ipsos iris are the: single source panel, future ready design, and a local team who are keen to collaborate