Measurement within print advertising has come under fire recently, criticism that online advertising has been seeing for sometime – not least from chair of Thinkbox, Tess Alps.
This is not the first time that transparency across online advertising has been compared unfavourably to other channels, and it is often TV that is held up as a shining example of an advertising model, but we often forget where it falls down and where online excels in terms of measurement and accountability.
Online advertisers benefit from measurement that, unlike BARB, is fuelled by data as opposed to extrapolating trends from 5,000 households, equating to 12,000 individuals. It is an industry that knows about bots, with companies like Integral Ad Science and Double Verify working towards technology that will protect advertisers. More than that, it prices space differently based on its likelihood of being seen as well as demand for that space, and can provide insight into which placements actually had an overall effect on campaign success. Yes there is fraud in some areas of the internet, but we can still measure impact scientifically and results will only improve as technology steps in to solve the problem.
In comparison, we have to ask, who knows who is actually watching a TV ad? The answer is that we have very little insight into this. Online marketers are benefiting from being able to target through data and measure results like click through rates, or later searches or direct website visits after an ad is delivered – something that is currently entirely missing in TV advertising.
We also have to remember that online is a lot more cost effective. If we take the Super Bowl ads – $4m for 30 seconds of airtime when the audience was most likely going to the bar, to the bathroom or simply discussing the game and not paying attention. For this a brand could buy a homepage takeover for months and be able to measure the results, as well as test and optimise messaging to improve results. Owing to this, despite all the issues that we see in online advertising, its ROI acts competitively against all other channels.
This is often seen as a threat to more traditional channels, however soon all channels will be online. Set top boxes are increasingly being connected and tracked, and younger generations spend more time than ever watching IPTV or OTT services like Netflix and NowTV. As TV becomes increasingly connected, and the same type of measurement and tracking we see in digital advertising sweeps in, all of the issues that are facing the online advertising industry will be exposed on TV – and ultimately we will realise that it is just as flawed.
The good news is that no matter where you are advertising, the ability to know whether your advert had a measurable impact on the particular individual it was served to is the Holy Grail. Only technology can enable this. So while we shouldn’t stop fighting the issues within our industry, we should also remember the positive impact technology is having on the way we work. Advertising is more targeted, precise and accountable than ever before when you are online – and this revolution is just round the corner for traditional media too.
Wolf Allisat, SVP International at Ensighten