A business expert has urged account managers and others holding media jobs in online advertising agencies to be more discriminating about what they’re trying to measure with adtech data.
Don’t measure efficiency when effectiveness is what’s needed
There is a fashion these days for “programmatic buying”, the contemporary successor to earlier Adland preoccupations like reach and frequency. But according to Francine Hardaway, the co-founder of the business consultancy Stealthmode.com, while programmatic buying brings efficiency to the advertising process, it doesn’t inevitably bring effectiveness. Efficiency is fine and dandy — nobody, from the agency’s account manager to the art director, wants to be inefficient. But as Hardaway observes, it doesn’t necessarily move product. To do that, it has to be blended with the “be-all and end-all of advertising”: effectiveness. And that means understanding what makes people act.
Writing in the business magazine Fast Company, Hardaway reminds jobbing account managers and art directors of the wisdom so intuitively understood by the late Steve Jobs: human beings are emotional creatures who make decisions largely on the basis of those emotions. As Hardaway puts it, agencies must ask certain core questions of the data they’re gathering:
“Where are our customers and what makes them buy? How do we query data to arrive at
effective media buys? Effective advertising provokes decisions, but efficient advertising simply reaches people.”
Moving the revenue needle
In fact, she argues, as the majority of decisions are made emotionally, agencies may need less data than they think, even though low-cost storage solutions and cloud computing have made our era the age of Big Data. The key question for online advertising agencies, Hardaway believes, a simple but fundamental one: “did this ad move the revenue needle?”
She cautions against measuring for the sake of measuring, or measuring simply because the tools are available to measure whatever they measure and instead points to the fact that effectiveness means different things to different brands and it can’t be measured with efficiency metrics. As Hardaway writes:
“If we are efficient in getting the wrong message to the right people, what good does that do?”