Are we witnessing the next phase in the global growth of digital advertising?
25 April 2012
It has been clear for a long while that the data revolution is creating a renaissance in marketing practice. The dark art of brand marketing is now vigorously embracing real time knowledge and a much more scientific approach to understanding the real impact of spending millions of dollars. My view is that great marketing has always been a combination of art and science, this renaissance really does put marketing back in the boardroom of major brand companies, providing substance and measurement to great intuitive and consumer focused thinking.
That said, the data revolution has seen much hyperbole and overpromise.
Digital advertising, founded in the performance marketing disciplines of search, response, re-targeting and optimisation has, too often, spurned the language of the major brand advertisers. Frankly there has been a high degree of arrogance and a refusal to speak the language of major potential customers. This arrogance has not served the business well and as maturity beckons and everything becomes digital, this has to change.
And changing it is. Brand companies that need to cover extensive, broad audiences and who create powerful brands by creating on going saliency are now seeing some very powerful innovation in the digital space. Their language and critical measures, are now not only being embraced in the digital world but are being developed and improved to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the new world. Of course this means measuring coverage, frequency, effective weights of course, but now it also means real time, better measured, better targeted, geo specific; the list goes on.
So it is great to see Google bringing out its Active GRP approach. It is simplifying the model and making it more powerful. By viewing the full spectrum for the brand advertiser – what people really see, how this changes its thinking and how this changes its behaviour – it has the opportunity to create a very powerful brand advertiser approach. It is attempting to bring disciplines such as understanding active viewing to advertisers where these have been lacking up to now.
Google is not alone. Comscore is fast developing its approach to measuring real ‘views’ in the digital environment, bringing a new professionalism and accountability to the brand space that has not formerly been there.
This is about creating cleaner and more powerful data that can be used to populate the business and ROI models that are the engine of the global brand clients business. There is no shortage of data in the digital world, but so much of the data that has been created has not represented reality and has frankly done a disservice to the longer term interests of the advertisers, publishers and agencies in the space. As a scientist myself by background, I have too often witnessed the blind faith in data that is poor and misrepresentative.
Nielsen is also fast developing in this space. While it is taking a different approach and looking at Facebook panels amongst other initiatives, its aim is the similar.
So we are now witnessing some great innovation from major players, to ensure that the language of brands and the drivers of brand growth are being properly assessed and measured in the digital space. This is good for all, ultimately it will set unified industry standards, which will absolutely drive revenues from global brand clients into digital.
The 3MS initiative – Making Measurement Make Sense – launched by the IAB, 3A’s and ANA, is the mother of much of this drive and innovation. They can take much credit for stimulating and supporting this new raft of innovation.
It really is great to see the next phase of maturity for brand thinking in our digital world.
Iain Jacob, president dynamic markets, Starcom MediaVest Group