Inefficient to Run Online Media Campaigns – Is it a Buying or Creative Issue?

I had the privilege to attend Pubmatic’s AdRevenue on October 13. Thanks to the Pubmatic team and Doug Weaver for putting such a great conference together.

During one of the panels, Martin Gilliard from The MIG referenced a common sentiment I’ve heard at many industry events: despite the technological efficiencies of interactive ad serving, it is still MORE expensive to run online marketing campaigns vs. offline marketing campaigns (e.g. buying ads on TV).

With tools to automate the RFP process, buyer and publisher ad serving tools, rich media technologies and all the other systems involved, it doesn’t seem that the issue is caused by the media buying process. Is it instead the durability of creative?  Is a TV schedule more efficient to deliver because all those spots and the ad impressions they represent are all executed against the same six 30-second spots?  Or the print schedule that runs throughout the year in 20-50 magazines rotates the same eight full-page ads?

From my time spent on the interactive agency side, very few campaigns ran over the course of months against the same creative and with fewer than three ad formats.  In TV, there’s the :15 spot, the :30 spot, a rare :60 spot and :10 Promo IDs (which I was never able to keep on a media plan).  When clients asked about burnout of a spot, the general response was that “a bad spot is burned after the first impression served, and effective spots can run for decades”.

On another panel at AdRevenue, Susan Grossman from MasterCard Advisors noted that the data they have access to allows them to turn information into insights and measure effectiveness by tracking actual purchases.  By using that kind of data to identify the appropriate audience to target and the demo/psychographic profile insights that can help get the message correct, online display ads should hopefully have enduring durability and allow those conversations to work over longer periods of time.

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