CAMPAIGN-I: Perspective - Let's get our facts straight for a start

Is it possible to write an entire 'opinion' piece on the subject of

online advertising and base it only on facts? Would I be right in

thinking that you as the reader may have had a skinful of industry

commentators and practitioners spending most of their time posturing and

thus causing greater confusion at a time when advertisers want clarity

and professionalism?



For it is these two factors that are largely to blame for the reticence

of many would-be advertisers to commit budgets to online.



The problem, it turns out, is not auditing of user figures nor 'poor'

click-through results. The conclusion of a recent report by Forrester

Research was that 'marketers are frustrated by the current lack of

knowledge and poor metrics and blame their suppliers'.



Real advertisers' real views, not my opinion. This is perfectly

illustrated by one comment as follows: 'We did a small online campaign.

We did not feel in control, but neither did our agency.'



There's a double irony here. Firstly, it turns out that it is the

agencies themselves that are the bottleneck for many clients - not just

the traditional ad agencies, but also the web design agencies who dabble

and direct marketing agencies who want part of the action.



The second is that despite this barrier, online advertising continued to

grow at 202 per cent year on year in 2000, even allowing for a slowing

down in the fourth quarter to 'only' 135 per cent growth (source:

PricewaterhouseCoopers, not opinion), and this despite the dotcom

crash.The fall of dotcoms had such a minor effect on online advertising

because most of their budgets actually went on TV and posters. The

recent slowing of growth has in fact been caused by the 'knowledge

gap'.



The knowledge that potential advertisers are not exposed to about online

advertising includes the following: it can often be the most

cost-effective of all media for customer acquisition - I have the

statistical evidence to prove this, but I'll spare you it here. It can

single-handedly increase prompted-awareness scores by one third or more

in a single campaign - once again, the evidence is available. And basic

cost-per-thousand rates now compare very favourably to posters and

press, but with the added benefit of buying controlled segments of

audience.



If I were an advertiser in the current environment of economic

uncertainty and wanted to use my budget in the most accountable and

trackable way possible, I know what medium I'd be turning to. But that's

just my opinion.



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