Ad Agencies Face Accountability

Google may be diversifying offline into radio, print and potentially TV advertising sales, but its plan is to utilize its powerful online backchannel to measure results of those deals.
If successful, the initiative could provide a new, empirical way of proving the ROI of traditional media advertising deals. In an interview with MediaDailyNews, Google’s Director of Advertising Strategy Patrick Keane said the plan relies on techniques already being utilized by some advertisers who use an online component of their media strategies to measure the effects of traditional media in their mix.
One straightforward strategy, he said, would be driving readers or listeners back to the online realm and measuring them there.
“The smart advertisers have been coming up with linked campaigns for a while,” Keane noted. “They’re no longer conceiving of advertising campaigns that are limited to the various silos–just print, just radio, or just Internet, and so on.”
As an example, Keane noted how marketers might include a unique URLs in text ads, allowing advertisers to measure by site visits the number of visitors who interacted with the text ad. He suggested advertisers could cast an even wider net by including an old direct response technique–the unique 1-800 number–in print campaigns and radio advertising. As aficionados of late-night TV know, 1-800 numbers are old hat; in this system, the studio selling albums, for example, pays out to the broadcaster based on the number of phone inquiries they receive.
Another approach might include econometric modeling, which uses sophisticated statistical analyses to determine the effect offline advertising has on driving consumers to online activity and vice versa.
This is good news for everyone except the ad agencies. They certainly don’t want accountability!
BTW, this approach isn’t new. David Ogilvy talks about it in “On Advertisisng” as does the late Claude Hopkins in his book on scientific advertising…
I’ve been proposing this approach to my clients for over five years now: every ad, no matter the media, must have a web-based call to action, period. Either that or a 1-800 number with a promo code…

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