Media Metric Hypocrisy

Reading an article in Ad Age titled "So Much For Engagement; Buys Are Still Based on Eyes,"  I was not surprised, but still very much confused. In short, the survey cited in the article shows that a majority of participants expect their online budgets to... I hope you're sitting down... increase!

OK, so that's not the confusing part. What is: the disparity in the most important criteria for choosing among television, print and online advertising. Now I don't know how they defined each of the criteria, but if you look at the survey answers, there is a category for "Ad Results." The fact that the results of a campaign didn't carry 100% weight in the decision-making process was the first part that confused me. But OK, maybe "Ad Results" has to be limited to those results that can be measured. But still, only in online was "Ad Results" even the most important criteria.

I have conceded that I don't think it's wrong to hold online to a higher standard of measurability when compared to other media, because it is more measurable. The part that confuses me is the definition of "Ad Results." Does it just mean clicks? Traffic? Purchases? Registrations? I would think that what you really want to know is how effective you ad was against all of your marketing goals. This would mean that none of the individual criteria listed (audience, content/editorial/cost/services), for any medium, could be viewed in a vacuum.



The only thing that should matter is that your advertising dollars achieve your advertising objectives. I would argue that this is in fact measuring the result of your advertising. And it's not one criterion, but a combination (the setting your advertising appears in, the audience you reach, the money you spend and the engagement you achieve), because in the end it will be all of these that determine how effective a particular advertising campaign is. So why is there such a discrepancy in how one medium is evaluated versus another? It simply mirrors the discrepancy in what is measureable in each medium, if you look at the results of the survey, for each medium the most important criteria seem to coincide with attributes most measurable in that medium.

Where these discrepancies become an issue is when you try to compare your advertising spend across media. Unless you can develop a set of common criteria for measuring adverting effectiveness, it is difficult, if not impossible, to plan true integrated marking campaigns. The goal of all campaigns to achieve the right media mix is to maximize your "Ad Results" for your dollars spent.

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