This post may not win me any friends, but I’ve needed to get this off my chest for a long time.
Marketer of company X needs to reach their ‘target market’ with a message and influence them to buy/like their product.
So they have options, radio, magazines, newspaper, TV, direct marketing and other stuff.
With all of these media they try to reach as many of their demographic as possible, but there will always be wastage, i.e. you’ll reach people to don’t intend on reach.
EXAMPLE 1: Lets try TV as a channel
So Jane, the marketer, buys some ads on TV, and she’s targeting mothers so she places the ad during desperate house wives. Great, good TV show (Jane likes it) and channel 7 say it’s predicted to reach 100,000 people (its actually much higher) and the TV station ‘knows’ that 60% of them are mothers. So Jane reachs 60,000 mothers. Simple. Great. Sounds ridiculously awesome. And on the surface it is, but there are some MASSIVE assumptions in here.
The way they know 100,000 people watch the TV show and 60% of them are female is because the TV industry pays people to do surveys. They’ll have samples in each region i.e. Melbourne CBD. So 2000 people complete a survey, whether its digital or log book isn’t the point (although there are massive differences), and they find that of those people 50% watch desperate house wives, so they scale that % up, and based on Melbourne CBD’s population that equals 100,000 (it doesn’t but you get my drift).
So in terms of accountability there are some major flaws:
1. Its based on averages, based on surveys, so many assumptions
2. Just because some was ‘watching the show’ doesn’t mean they were there when the adverts were on, or were they playing with their laptop
3. And there could be 6 people sitting on the couch, who counts as a viewer?
So when channel 7 come back to you on Tuesday with your report saying you actually overshot your target and reached 65,000 mothers, you actually have NO IDEA.
They’re saying that more of the surveys said they were watching desperate house wives, and they saw the advert, and you’re assuming that the average is the same for all of Melbourne CBD…
EXAMPLE 2: So now let’s talk about the Internet
Let’s say in this instance that Jane buys some adverts on MSN Recipe Finder, they say you’re like to reach 100,000 people and of those 60% are mothers. Sounds fair and decent right?
Then they give you a report after the campaign that shows you overshot your target and reached 65,000 mothers. Fantastic! But wait, thats the same as TV, and Jane likes Desperate House Wives…
There’s one thing I didn’t mention, the report that MSN give Jane is ACTUAL count of the exact number of people (unique visitors) that they reached. Now there are some technical debates about ‘unique visitors’ but its neither here nor there in the scheme of things.
COMPARISON: Measurement TV vs Internet
Both TV and Internet delivered a report that said they reached 65,000 mothers. The only difference is that the TV stats are based on a small sample survey with the findings extrapolated out, whereas the Internet stats are based on things that actually hapenned.
Every time you visit a website, download a file or view an image the activity is recorded. ACTUAL ACTIVITY NOT A SURVEY.
And the others?
Well radio, TV, Bus Shelters/Billboards (OOH), magazines and newspapers are all based on LESS complex systems than TV. Resulting in human error, forgetfulness and well its a boring survey.
SO WHY THE RANT?
Well, Paul Fisher, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia, is focused on increasing the ‘measureability’ of the Internet…. He’s the representative of the Internet as a marketing channel, and he’s out and about saying that its not accountable? WHAT THE? Sorry, but there are much more important issues here to deal with than this. (NB: It seems to be an international focus for the IAB, not just Australia)
We can no longer hold our heads up high and say unique browser is the metric we use to measure. Let’s find a metric that works, that people believe in.
From my experience, my clients are overwhelmed by the accountability, to a point that it sometimes can be over-analysed and they end up going with something with less accountability but it ‘feels’ right. (It’s happened more than you’d think).
UPDATE: Paul was interviewed by Mumbrella today with a mention of education and training… That’s what I’m talking about, wonder if anything will happen?
I’d put it out there for Paul to respond or what do you think the IAB should be doing…?
This is the IAB’s mission, as stated on their homepage
1) To promote the standardisation of ad formats
2) To ensure timeliness and transparency of industry data
3) To educate the marketplace about the value of online advertising
I think they’re completely mising the mark with number 3… Contrastly, Free TV Australia are kicking arse at education with ThinkTV.com.au promoting the pants off TV. It certainly persuades me of the benefits of TV Advertising.
… So now you might see why Love Digital was formed. Through this we’re interviewing international and national gurus like Seth Godin, Joseph Jaffe and loads more… With no support of the IAB… weird?
Am I the only one that thinks this? What do you think?
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