Metrics Are the New Black

In 2008, digital technologies will pave the way for improved measurement of rich media marketing, which will deliver on the promise of truly quantifiable campaign ROI.

The explosive growth of emerging media and rapid technology advancements in personal devices has prompted new consumer behavior and created tremendous opportunities for publishers, advertisers, and marketers. Users now demand a more engaging experience on the Web, as well as the ability to control when, where, and how they consume media.

As marketers begin to cater to the new on-demand market conditions, a shift in the relationship between brands and audiences will take place. Users will embrace the opportunity to actively engage on their own terms with brands they favor, and marketers will need to think differently about how they measure the success of that engagement.

As online advertising continues to evolve--and to become richer in content and deliver a more personalized experience--the Web will become a truly superior medium to better target and engage a more receptive audience than traditional offline channels.

A recent Forrester Research Survey confirms that brand marketers predict that interactive marketing channels will be more effective for reaching customers over the next three years. These interactive channels include social media, search engine marketing, mobile marketing, gaming, online video and interactive display ads. (Source: Q3 2007 U.S. Interactive Marketer Online Survey)

The survey explains that interactive channels are expected to be more effective at delivering on every marketing goal including selling products or services online, driving traffic to a Web site, generating leads and, most importantly, building relationships and loyalty.

As interactive marketing becomes more critical for marketers, the advertising spend will increase, and dollars are projected to flood into the online channels. The anticipation of this push into the online space is what is driving significant consolidation in this marketplace, as publishers and media companies gear up to accommodate the new industry construct.

This will force a new and greater accountability for marketing dollars spent. According to a recent eMarketer forecast, U.S. online advertising is predicted to double from $29 billion in 2008 to over $50 billion in 2012. That is only four years away. In addition, eMarketer forecasts that Internet ad-spend growth in 2008 will continue to surpass that of all other major media, and that this surge is largely fueled by rich media and video advertising.

While online advertising and rich media become more sophisticated, interactive, and creative, the Web will allow for the measurement of specific trackable performance results to help marketers quantify the success of their campaigns.

The key performance metrics enable marketers to objectively compare campaign results and optimize on the fly to improve ad performance. This is something that is simply not possible with traditional marketing channels. The Internet technology tools that will help to measure online interactive rates and overall campaign results will become critical to providing real and actionable insight for marketers as they strive for continued performance improvements.

With these changes the importance of a simple click-through rate metric is diminished, and marketers will now focus on evaluating higher-level metrics--including the quality of customer engagement, time spent and interaction rates, overall brand sentiment, and true brand conversations on the Web.

The model for measuring the effectiveness of rich media campaigns is about measuring the quality of brand engagement. In 2008, a more sophisticated approach involving econometrics, intelligence reporting, and true performance measurement will be critical for determining the effectiveness of advanced Web campaigns.

As the year progresses, we expect an increased focus on measuring the impact of rich media advertising for both branding and direct marketing campaigns. Naturally, this will lead to companies seeking better technology and analytics tools to help them understand and optimize their rich media campaigns. As the balance between ad spending and ad effectiveness shifts to better-performing interactive mediums, measuring brand engagement and optimizing campaigns with real business intelligence will ensure that marketers make the most of their advertising dollars in 2008 and beyond.

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