Uneven Campaign Metrics Make Multichannel Advertising More Challenging

Companies can no longer ignore the growing online population, and many have already found ways to successfully reach both online and offline audiences using multichannel advertising.

Still, a number of brands shy away from multichannel advertising. One often-cited reason is the lesser audience reach of online when compared to traditional mass media, such as TV.

But difficulties associated with integrating and measuring the integration of online and offline advertising are also to blame. According to media buying software provider STRATA, merging traditional and digital advertising into one campaign was a challenge for 38% of US ad agencies in Q3 2011, down from 46.4% in Q2 of the same year.

Challenges with measuring overall investment likely contribute to the reluctance to try multichannel advertising.

The quarter-over-quarter decline in respondents citing difficulty with integrating campaigns would seem to suggest agencies and their clients are becoming more comfortable with multichannel advertising, but overall adoption remains low.

In another study, STRATA found more than half of US media buyers said less than 25% of their clients are running online and offline-integrated advertising campaigns. Approximately one in four media buyers had no clients using a multichannel advertising strategy.

Findings from McKinsey and Company suggest online’s confusing and incompatible set of metrics may be most at fault.

Marketing executives worldwide said their top digital challenges were metrics-related items, such as generating and leveraging customer insights from their marketing efforts (32%) and assessing digital marketing performance using disparate metrics for online and offline marketing (11%). Brand reputation and management, particularly as it pertains to social media, was also a primary obstacle, no doubt due to the difficulty of controlling—and perhaps measuring—brand-centric conversations across social media.

When considering online metrics, marketing executives worldwide were most concerned with their inability to quantify the financial impact of their digital marketing programs. Metrics such as cost-per-impression (CPM) and clickthrough rate (CTR) can tell marketers about the performance of online advertising, but they cannot quantify bottom-line effects.

In addition, 23% found difficulty with the fact that digital metrics are not as similar to traditional metrics. But executives might prefer online to conform to traditional metrics: 24% said online metrics are often hard to understand.

Such confusion does not bode well for those eager to see more brands move ad dollars online. Though companies have forged ahead online in spite of the challenges of executing and measuring a multichannel advertising strategy, it appears many will continue to hesitate so long as metrics remain misaligned and online measurement remains a challenge.


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