Whether it was unadulterated optimism about the growth of online media, or simply the fact that sunny San Diego can quickly erase memories of Eastern snow, the consensus view during the recent Interactive Advertising Bureau Annual Leadership Meeting is that our industry is finally entering its golden age. Best of all, it means that some of the myths bantered about in the industry over the past 12 to 18 months can finally be put to rest.
Information, we are told, wants to be free. Well, teenagers want to eat junk food, get high and have unprotected sex, but that doesn't make it a good idea (and it sure doesn't make it a business model.) I think perhaps it's time we sat information down for a heart-to-heart.
The future of advertising is not about social, not about viral videos, not about mobile, not about any new medium or any new ad unit -- but about data. Those who know what to do with this will be the new kingmakers, the new rulers of Madison Avenue -- or the creators of a new Avenue of media. Why is this so? Because the impression by itself is becoming worthless.
I got an email the other day from a marketing technology company trumpeting its software's ability to help me "improve marketing ROI without lifting a finger." Wow. Incredible. Can't be true, can it? I asked for a demonstration copy to see if I could realize the incredible benefit, but no luck. They wouldn't send me one. So to test the validity of the claim, I went to the center of all things factual -- the Internet -- to see what else I could do without lifting a finger. The options are amazing.
To start, analytics are not an audit. An audit involves a series of checks and balances, beyond simply quality control, that tests data for accuracy. Further, audits provide standardized metrics and methodology, consistency of process, and transparency of results. Traffic analytic tools certainly have their place as an important business resource, but they do not produce audited data.
My friend and business partner, Dave Reibstein of Wharton School, writes an advice column called Ask Dave, where former students write in with questions on marketing metrics and he offers some sage advice. This recent correspondence caught my attention for its relevance and timeliness, with the new fiscal year beginning soon...