‘To see or not to see’
is that really the right question?

Excuse the Shakespearian paraphrasing but in recent weeks there has been much reported controversy about how digital media in all its forms is measured and traded. But when considering this topic, are marketing pundits missing the point & are clients asking all the right questions?

  • The accuracy of digital effectiveness measures such as viewability; and also the lack of
    transparency in ad trading systems have all been called into question
  • This is a particularly hot topic as ‘digital’ accounts for increasing amounts of marketers’ focus and a corresponding proportion of budgets
  • Moreover with the rapid growth of ‘programmatic’ trading, the majority of digital spend, especially display advertising, is targeted, bought and sold automatically
  • While the system is maturing with multiple adtech companies being gobbled up by major players; and lessons are being learned by amongst others, the duopoly of Google and Facebook when it comes to placing ads in complementary rather than totally inappropriate environments, many still feel it all has an element of the Wild West about it
  • This has been exacerbated by the likes of Facebook having to admit some of their effectiveness measures have been 80% inaccurate and much of the digital ad industry is in reality marking its own homework when it comes to measuring performance
  • There are some steps being taken to improve matters by a more widespread acceptance of the independent Media Ratings Council’s viewability rules, but these in themselves are of limited scope
  • It’s no wonder marketers are expressing their disquiet at the situation in no uncertain terms, with Marc Pritchard, CMO at P&G being particularly vociferous

So much of this debate seems to be just another proxy for what really counts in a world already littered with jargon. Viewability and other user engagement scores; CPM, CPC and their like are all very well, but they avoid the critical questions around their connection to actual sales uplifts both on line and especially in store. Working this out will enable marketers to establish the true effects of their digital campaigns and lessen reliance on the measures that better suit digital channel & content owners rather than their advertiser paymasters.