Measuring brand effectiveness with clicks reminds me of so many other well-known fallacies: Home prices will always continue to skyrocket, nuclear energy is relatively safe, and one can quit smoking in a day. Likewise, advertisers seem to keep convincing themselves that clicks are a good measure of online branding. Unfortunately, when brand advertisers only focus on this metric, they are actually stifling creativity and harming their own brand. The emphasis on clicks has created ads that serve more as street signs to direct users to their site, instead of encompassing an overall memorable experience.
Advertising agencies do what they are paid to do, and if you pay them to deliver clicks, that’s what you are going to get. Why bother with creativity, witty copy, glaring images, and innovative formats, when you can get clicks by just placing cheap standard banners at high volume on long tail placements?
Recently, there has been a spate of articles about how last-click attribution is a flawed way to measure online ad effectiveness for advertisers. Others have debated view vs. click attribution. But these debates miss a key point. The damage of misplaced attribution doesn’t just fail to give credit where it’s due for conversion, but also harms brands’ online advertising efforts more widely — it hampers their ability to drive upper-funnel results. Every brand marketer knows it takes time to develop engagement with consumers.
During a recent conversation with our friends at NPD (the company, incidentally, where I began my career), they shared with us an interesting bit of Internet history. Many of you may not be aware that back in the mid 90’s, NPD measured Internet audiences through a business unit known as PC Meter. PC Meter would eventually become Media Metrix, whose U.S. business was acquired by comScore in 2001.
JULY 15, 2011, comScore Data Mine, via @datagems
Traditional methods of attributing the effects of digital advertising, such as last-click (commonly used to measure the impact of direct response advertising) and last exposure (commonly used to measure the impact of branding advertising) rely on overly simplistic, flawed methods. This means that insights are often inaccurate and not actionable for marketers, agencies and publishers.
According to a recent Econsultancy report, the proportion of companies exclusively using Google Analytics for their analytics needs has risen to 44%, compared to 38% last year and 23% in 2009. Our Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2011, produced in association with Lynchpin, looks at the extent to which companies are using Google Analytics, paid for analytics tools, and which tools they are using for which reporting requirements.