Converting to a new “Metrics” System

If you’re over the age of 45 you are probably thinking about
the movement to convert the U.S. to the metric system. Remember, we were going to measure stuff just like the
rest of the world? (Try as we might, us wacky Americans just couldn’t seem to
get the hang of the whole x10 deal.)
 

What I’m referring to is the new media and online business “metrics”
system. The metrics we use to measure the success of online advertising. As I’ve
addressed many times in this blog, new media needs to offer proof of its
success in generating traffic for advertisers. I have always maintained that we
are enjoying a buzz factor resulting in substantial amounts of money pouring
into online advertising. It’s vital to get a better handle on how we measure
the results because it’s only a matter of time before those advertisers want
proof that their investment works. Who knew that time would be…gulp…quite so
soon.

In an October 22nd New York Times article titled,
“How Many Site Hits? Depends Who’s Counting.” author Louise Story points out
the disparity in the site visit and page view numbers provided by the different
companies supplying metrics (Nielsen, ComScore, etc.). Say hello to the first
drop of what could result in a flood of media buyers pointing out “reasons we
shouldn’t spend so much on web advertising.”

The numbers in question continue to be based on the way we
measure TV, Radio and Newspaper. “How many see it? How many hear it? How many
read it?” I would submit that we need to focus on “Who uses it?” New media
advertising offers something to the consumer that no other media does…instant
interaction. Clicking on a banner, downloading a video or podcast, that’s
something you can measure. In fact, I think that if a new media ad inspires someone
to take immediate action its worth more
than a TV, Radio, or Newspaper ad.

But, this goes beyond even “clicks”. Let’s invest the money
and go a step further. Do the research and go beyond quantity. Take the
opportunity that a new advertising medium is laying out to us. Provide
information on the quality of the users and the experience they have. Start
training media buyers now on how new media consumers take advantage of the
advertising they interact with. Mass media is OK but, commitment and loyalty
(brought about by the user experience) is so much better. We need to start
working now on establishing a new style of metrics (just as organizations like
the ADM is earnestly working to do).

New media offers us a chance to advertise and market in a
whole new way. Let’s stop trying to measure it in a whole old way.

Comments

  1. Measure for Measure

    As the Association for Downloadable Media and other interested organizations and individuals struggle to come up with a useful and agreed-upon standard for measuring site audience, a lot of attention is being paid to the kind of audience advertisers sh…

  2. Good points, Phil. We’ve all heard it said, “The good news about Internet advertising is, we can tell you exactly how many people saw your ad! The bad news is, we can tell you exactly how many people saw your ad…” I think moving to a system where we emphasize the quality of the audience over its quantity will be key. If we can demonstrate that x number of sales/interactions occurred as a direct result of your ad, then we are selling something that media aimed at the mass market cannot touch.

  3. Les,

    Love your comments. I have also been watching with interest the evolution of the PPM from Arbitron. This electronic “people meter” is showing actual listening or radio and broadcasters are already concerned that it’s delivering the good news, bad news. We must begin the labor intensive mission of showcasing the who=results and not the how many=results.

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