Recently, one of our clients asked us to help negotiate a sponsorship with a major online media property. The client and the site were well down the road to deciding on the terms of the deal, but the client wondered how they would ever know if they got their money’s worth.
Taking our cue from the sponsorship agreement being negotiated, we created a success measurement plan that addressed the respective elements of the deal. The plan outlined the strategies and tactics for the online campaign, and provided specific metrics and measurement strategies for each element. Overall, it articulated how the client should expect to see return on their online investment.
Since one of the client’s primary objectives was to boost awareness of a new product, we designed a methodology for measuring how the different elements of the campaign did this.
Using Dynamic Logic‘s AdIndex product, which measures the attitudinal impact of online advertising, we showed how to measure whether or not the sponsorship was meeting the client’s awareness (and other branding) objectives.
In other words, we showed the client how they could make sure they were getting “branding impact” from their investment. If they were interested solely in generating sign-ups, driving traffic, or acquiring customers, then tracking clicks and other behaviors would suffice. But branding is a different story (see “Escaping the Cult of Click-Through“).
To an ad sales executive, accountability is an afterthought, if not a hurdle. That’s why the media property in question bridled when they first saw how the sponsorship would be evaluated. Understandably, they were nervous that the results would show no impact at all.
The specter of accountability made the site rethink its proposal to the client. It advised that the sponsorship be modified for more impact: better targeting, more concentrated impression waves, no run-of-site placement, etc.
In the end, the client got a good buy with ROI metrics in place, and everyone was happy: client, site, and agency.
Measuring branding impact is still uncommon. That means, in many ways, that online media properties have been getting a free ride.
Everyone talks about advertising ROI, but outside of a direct sales model, few have measured success. Big advertisers, unschooled in online research and new to the Internet game, fork over millions on speculative ad buys with no success metrics in place.
But the gravy train doesn’t last forever. Only with concrete performance metrics in place – measuring not just clicks, but all of a campaign’s objectives – does online advertising become accountable. In the long run, that’s good for everyone in the industry.