Brand Comfort: Online Ads Asked To Adopt Off-line Metrics

Young-Bean Song

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brands demand the promises and the guarantees of performance -- the same performance and fundamental metrics they've come to know in traditional media.

During his keynote at OMMA Performance Monday, Young-Bean Song, senior director at Microsoft Advertising Institute, told attendees the online industry needs to adopt traditional performance metrics to make brands that traditionally advertise on television and radio feel more comfortable about moving advertising to the Web.

Data needs to prove the outcome of a campaign -- but that effort has become complex. During the next few years, companies will bring traditional media metrics to online media plans. The industry also will design new standards for return on investments. Today, the industry talks about cost per activation and cost per sale, but that will change. Within the next year or two, Microsoft will have the ability to fill in some of the missing data. A company will know it spent $100,000 and provide a forecast that the media plan will reach about 7.8% of the target audience; it will also provide a GRP that gives the offline equivalent for an online campaign.



Brand investments in online advertising will follow traditional metrics, such as reach frequency and GRPs, a metric fundamental to offline brand advertisers, not just click-through rates.

"We're not translating our media plans," Song says. "It's one reason we're not seeing traditional media dollars move online because they don't know what they're buying."

Advertisers also need to measure more than the last ad. If a marketer's view remains on the last ad, they will start at the purchase funnel. "You may end up with a great ROI, but just a handful of conversations," he adds. "And we all know that's not sustainable."

2 comments about "Brand Comfort: Online Ads Asked To Adopt Off-line Metrics".
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  1. Geoff Pickering from Blue Brahma, January 26, 2010 at 9:15 a.m.

    In December of 2005 I wrote a post ( - It's My Job To Be Relevant) about this issue - I went back and found a quote by Doug Hall author of Jump Start Your Marketing Brain where he said, "When a category is perceived to be complex and hard to understand, customers give up before they even begin considering new information. It's not that they don't want or need advanced technology; it's just that they feel incapable of accessing it."

    As I wrote, I feel as though the onus is squarely on our (the industry - Agencies, Publishers, Advertisers, Associations, etc.) shoulders to help reshape the landscape.

    Over the past twenty years, I've served time on both sides of this equation as a Media Director and Digital Czar for clients such as Hallmark, Pizza Hut, Bayer, Nestle', United/Mayflower, and Rawlings and I have experienced (r)evolutionary changes in our business.

    To me, I feel your comments and recommendations are directing our industry to take a step backwards and in the wrong direction. The dumbing down of our future marketing metrics to fit old marketing metrics is an insult to our industry and is not what we need.

    You are correct, our work is more complex and difficult to explain. Advertisers do need to understand what they are receiving for their investment. Those are appropriate assessments of what online marketing brings to the table.

    The bottom-line is, online marketing is far more complex in measuring what a campaign can deliver than offline media. It just is.

    Our efforts today in understanding all of the possible digital applications and relevant metrics are paving the way for the future of marketing in a world that continues to move at warp speed towards a completely wired world.

    I did not have the opportunity to hear the complete presentation so I may have missed some of the finer points of your presentation. I'm curious what data sets you have to offer other than the percent transfer of traditional media dollars to online dollars. Among other things, does your research indicate a target percent of spending that would indicate an appropriate allocation of marketing spend by advertisers?

    I'd love to hear/read more on this issue.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, January 26, 2010 at 1:42 p.m.

    The one common link between online and offline marketing is the consumer.

    "Traditional" or "offline" metrics are grounded in communications planning that holds the consumer as its epicentre.

    I find that "online" metrics hold the server as its epicentre and worship at the altar of traffic analysis.

    The more online starts talking about real people and not traffic, hits, page impressions, cookies et. al. then the more it will resonate with communication planners and marketers.

    Ever wondered why most online revenue comes from search and not brand advertising? Well, the answer is right there.

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