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The Un-questioned truth of Internet Measurement October 30, 2006

Posted by alwilliams in Introduction.

In being critical you need to look at what is naturally assumed about a subject and how “common knowledge” is passed down, to realise that certain things may not be as they seem and that changes can be made to improve the situation. 

Beliefs become established over time and are reinforced over time to become unquestioned.  In generalising, I would say that old establishments were more likely to have “established truths” that are adopted as they have over many years unquestioned. 

When thinking about the Digital Advertising and Marketing Industry in general then (referred to as just marketing from now as I believe this includes advertising), which has only really taken off in the past 3 years where now the Internet Ad spend to become a £1bn industry (IAB UK, 2006), you have to wonder whether solid truths have been established at all.  Indeed, can truths become established over this period of time?

Things have changed exceedingly quickly for the Digital Marketing Industry, as technicological capabilities are always increasing and as we continue to learn the best way to use this medium (consistent with changes in many industries:  Technology and how people use them).  It is therefore reasonable to assume that in order to identify an established truth of this industry, it would have to be something that has been around before Internet Marketing was established and yet tied to it. 

The most obvious example in this case this would be how we are measuring our success;  Reach, frequency and response, all of which are numerical and need to be larger to be better (according to all my clients anyway!). Therefore the first Unquestioned truth is;

1.  Larger numbers in the Advertising industry standard metrics mean greater success.

This needs to be looked at however as gone have the days where we have a static 10/ 30 secs with the aim of reaching as many people in the target audience as possible. 

The Internet has given us the ability to interact with the consumer and enrich the communication experience and even enabled the consumer to become an active part of it.  I suggest that we as an Industry needs to look seriously at a form of engagement metric that defines the quality of the interaction, length of engagement as well as the number of people who have seen the ad (which will obviously still have its place in measuring effectiveness). Eyeblaster for example have already moved towards considering these new metrics:


However they have yet to define what makes a ‘successful’ engagement or interaction.  What constructs should be involved in the creation of such a measurement however and do we have the technology to capture this so that measuring Internet Advertising does not become as spurious as it is for event/ experiential marketing?

I will be looking at this in more detail as it is an interest area of mine in the field and I would love to crack this during my career!


1. Simon - October 31, 2006

Certainly some interesting questions my friend.

From a significantly less than adept perspective i would suggest that the ”the first Unquestioned truth [about measuring advertising] is not;

1. Larger numbers in the Advertising industry standard metrics mean greater success.


1. Standard advertising metrics are the most robust and insightful means of measuring advertising efficacy.

I would also suggest that (as an everyday net user) the type and level of interations one can have with commercial communications is almost endless. The ultimate challenge for you will be identifying metrics that have significant relevance to each of these individual situations (or large enough groups of them) without becoming broadswordish as the old metrics of reach, frequency et al could be contedended to be today.

Right what’s for dinner…

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