Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Good Media, Bad Creative

  |  February 19, 2003   |  Comments

For too long, publishers have taken the fall for campaign failures when the folks who created the ads are the ones to blame.

Since the Internet's inception, one of its main selling propositions has been that it is inherently more measurable than other media. Unlike TV, radio, and print, the Web boasts serving and tracking technology that allows advertisers to know a lot about the impact of their ad investments.

For advocates of Internet marketing, this inherent measurability is both good and bad. It's good because the industry can provide data and accountability that make the Net unique. But this measurability can sometimes hold the industry, especially publishers, hostage, because they're held accountable for measurements over which they have little control.

The classic scenario is when a marketer makes a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) buy on a Web site, in which the publisher is paid only when people click on an ad and sign up on a Web site. The publisher may deliver people to the site, but if no one signs up because the offer on the site is not compelling or the sign-up process is too onerous, the publisher gets cheated.

This phenomenon isn't limited to cost-per deals. Publishers can be unfairly blamed for poor results on branding campaigns, too. When publishers are evaluated based on a campaign's ability to build a brand, they often get blamed for lackluster results.

But unless the publisher has created the ad, a big part of the campaign's performance is not under its control. Though placement, targeting, and audience are extremely important, the quality and type of creative also have a big impact on branding effectiveness.

There have been some important efforts to improve online advertising over the years, many focusing on measurement standards and ways of streamlining the media planning and buying process. But apart from the Interactive Advertising Bureau's influential efforts to promote rich media and larger size formats, the industry has focused little energy on improving the quality of online ads.

That's unfortunate. The fact is, too often Web ads are just plain bad. Even after years of creating them, many agencies and advertisers ignore simple guidelines, based on solid research, that can make their ads better. There's just no excuse for breaking rules by, say, creating an ad that doesn't prominently display the brand or logo or delivers the message in only one frame of animation.

Many advertisers are still in the testing mode. And when they get poor results from an Internet campaign, they can come to the conclusion online advertising doesn't work. Often, bad creative is at fault, not the medium itself. This problem is particularly pronounced in cross-media campaigns where different media are being compared to one another.

People using the Internet aren't there to consume ads, but they still look at them -- if only for a moment. Efficiently delivering a compelling message -- in a way that is intrusive but not annoying -- is the only way to make an impact. The people who create online ads should also be held accountable for making the medium work.

This column ran previously on ClickZ.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeffrey Graham

Jeffrey Graham is vice president of client development at Dynamic Logic, a company he joined in January of 2001. Dynamic Logic specializes in measuring the branding effectiveness of online marketing. Jeffrey has served as research director at two online advertising agencies, Blue Marble and NOVO, and has worked with clients such as General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Continental Airlines. He has taught Internet Research at New York University and has a Masters degree in the subject.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive 9 Strategies to Engage Your Consumers White Paper

9 Strategies to Engage Your Consumers
Online marketing apps are highly engaging - taking visitors on short, but effective, conversion-focused journeys. This white paper illustrates 9 strategies to engaging consumers through app-like experiences.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Resources

Jobs

    • Sr. Paid Search Manager
      Sr. Paid Search Manager (Bisk Education) - TampaCurrently seeking a Sr. Paid Search Manager in Tampa, FL for Bisk Education! Bisk Education is a...
    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...