ABC Has Ad Metric To Prove Effectiveness, But Marketers Won't Share Data
The problem is, Shaw says, marketers are unwilling to share the data on sales results to allow ABC to prove it.
And that collaboration doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon -- at least with one of the country's largest advertisers. "We're not going to share proprietary data ... not in my lifetime," said Daryl Evans, an AT&T marketing vice president.
Instead, Evans said AT&T will continue to crunch numbers and look for more traditional forms of ROI measurement. For its pricey sponsorship of "American Idol," Evans said that while "not precise," the amount of voting via text messaging gives it a gauge.
Evans, who along with Shaw spoke at a TV Week Upfront Summit, said some of the onus for ad effectiveness (and preventing DVR-enabled skipping) rests with marketers. They need to ensure that their spots are compelling. "I do believe the content is a big factor in that," Evans said, adding AT&T has some appealing ads and some "clunkers" in rotation.
Network executives like Shaw have suggested that it's unfair to place networks on the hook for viewers who are unwilling to watch banal spots.
Last month, top OMD executive Page Thompson said the industry needs to shift away from ratings as the basis for guarantees in the upfront market to an "ROI currency." But GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb shot back that lackluster creative could indeed leave networks at a disadvantage.
Initiative USA President Tim Spengler echoed that Thursday: "Some of the spots are inherently lacking in imagination." Spengler suggested that networks looking to demonstrate ROI hold conversations with search engines, such as Google, so "more science [can be] brought to what's working."
Still, Evans said AT&T believes TV works and will be an active upfront player this spring. But with the uncertain economy, it may ask networks to offer it more "flexibility," something it may be willing to pay more for.