"Standards For Internet Planning: Creation or Evolution?" was conductced by Amy Betz, Mark Maiville and Rob Wolf, all of Interactive Market Systems. It was written after Interactive Market Systems consulted with several of its industry partners in the framework of how Internet planning has changed with a sour economy and the burst of the dot-com bubble.
They found that some senior marketing managers link the fall of many Internet companies with the fall of Internet advertising opportunities.
"Senior managers don't have a lot of confidence in the Web," the study said. The industry's complicating of the Internet and the fact that many traditional media planners don't understand the ins and outs of the Web also make it difficult for the Internet to catch on with advertisers.
"There are few solid facts, no standard practices, and lots of misperceptions," the study said.
Interactive Market Systems said the misperceptions need to be addressed by defining what the Internet can do for advertising and develop straightforward planning tools and practices that accomplish that.
Planners interviewed in the study said there really wasn't one way to use the Internet, that it depended on the brand's communications and marketing goals. But many agreed that because of the hype of the late 1990s the Internet needs to prove that it can impact product movement.
This goal can be measured by reach, frequency and efficiency, the study said, and by looking at the whole picture and how achieving a goal can lead in a progression to the next. There's a concern as well about the lack of planning tools that can integrate information across levels.
The IAB's effectiveness studies were praised and the moves toward industry standard definitions were also lauded. But the planners in the study also said that it was critical that systems were not developed in isolation or apart from the day-to-day needs of planners. The investment isn't just in software or data, the study authors said.
"To a large degree it's an investment in the common knowledge of the medium. Tools are out there, and planners are starting to use them in order to support decisions," the study said.