With the right metrics, brand spend will come online

Moves are underway to establish concrete ‘brand building metrics’ online, and if this is successfully standardised across the industry I think it could potentially transform the digital economy as we know it. 

Ronan Shields

Much of online advertising has traditionally been seen as the domain of direct marketing, with marketing budget spent there seen as nothing more than a way to bring a user to an ecommerce site.

The success of online has been measured in clickthrough rates (CTR), ad impressions served, etc, etc. Thus far, that scenario has worked quite well for companies and the digital economy as a whole, but let’s face it, it’s not very imaginative. Therefore, it’s unlikely to attract the high rolling brand budgets.

And when you think that we are spending more and more time interacting with a connected device each day, it appears to me that marketers who invest their ‘brand spend’ offline are unnecessarily limiting themselves.

But maybe that’s the result of the online industry’s inability to establish more concrete brand building metrics online?

Over the past number of weeks, several conversations I’ve had with industry contacts have discussed the need for establishing the role that online ads play in building brand awareness, and it appears that several parties are working towards bringing this about.

One contact told me that when market researchers rely solely on consumer recall for assessing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, offline channels are often overvalued at the expense of the role online plays.

To paraphrase what they said: ‘The problem is that people often default to saying TV or magazines, when they’re asked where they recall seeing the brand. But more often that not they were probably exposed to the campaign online.’ 

I hesitate to mention specific companies going about devising brand building metrics online. But testament to this trend was the recent establishment of the Brand Council by the IAB Europe, to complement the trade body’s existing Mobile, Search and Social Councils.

I’d argue that this is proof of a rapidly maturing industry and with the correct methodologies and metrics in place, marketers will surely be compelled to rethink where they spend their brand budgets.

‘Brand budgets’ should already be invested online, and the establishment of universal measurement metrics will help marketers do so with more piece of mind. 

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