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I did in-depth interviews last year with 30 large advertisers and the consensus was that what information did trickle in was too late and not reliable enough to be actionable.
All the sites I interviewed are large sites with the smallest being 100,000 hits a month and the largest 18,000,000 a month. (Only 1, the largest is a client of mine.)
What is everyone else seeing? Are sites under 100,000 hits a month doing any better?
If you are experiencing problems in this area, do you see it as a standards issue, a tracking problem, a timing problem, a resource problem or an education problem?
As far as pure stats go on ad buys - again, depends on where the ads are being purchase. Things like se purchases, those come in real time of course. The billing doesn't, but the results are on the site, so it's up to you to do the leg work of stat generation. When purchasing banners, so of those networks are a bit slow. Most are in the 24hr range now. If you are doing a $10-50k buy, 24hrs is a lifetime.
The general failure of webmasters that media buyers talk about is that they don't understand that an advertising campaign is an iterative process in a short timeframe.
Seach engine optimization has some work done today and the results show up 3 months later in the search engine. The reports on performance trickle in a month and a half later.
So SEO work is done on Labor Day for the Christmas season and the reports of how it performed show up on Valentines Day.
That really doesn't cut it in the real world.
I said: "The general failure of webmasters that media buyers talk about is that they don't understand that an advertising campaign is an iterative process in a short timeframe."
I think your response gives credence to the media buyer’s point of view.
What I meant was that it is probably the responsibility of the media buyer to understand the nuances of internet marketing and not the other way around.
The webmaster can understand the buyers point of view, but it really does not change the way the web works. I can't think of any other medium that is as "accountable" as the internet.
If you have server logs, you know instantly what is going on right down to the click, the time, the response, etc. of what is going on with your campaign. I don't see that with any other medium.
There may be other factors at work in the buyers reluctance to "learn the ropes" so to speak. The main factor being the size of the commission, when I know that I can make more money "buying" television spots, and the inside front cover of a publication, It is easy to "understand" that medium.
What are the commissions involved in a web buy versus a publication buy? Knowing that might solve the mystery.
The media buyer needs to evaluate web-advertising performance against print and direct mail performance. He may also have TV or radio and telemarketing to evaluate.
Generally webmasters (I am using this term to mean the computer management person) don’t understand this need and are not supplying the information in a timely manner and in an acceptable format.
This is not a matter of the media buyer not learning the ropes. He has no responsibility and usually no training to decipher raw Internet logs.
As webmasters gather more and more iron, they are reproducing the ‘glass-house’ mentality of the old mainframe world. They need to focus on how the web is contributing to the profitability of a company. Their mind-set needs to be profitability-driven not technology-driven.
The problem is that the standard models that apply in the "bricks" world don't always translate across directly. The parallels are close enough, but not exact IMO
>> The media buyer needs to evaluate web-advertising performance against print and direct mail performance. He may also have TV or radio and telemarketing to evaluate
A direct mail campaign will produce a rush of responses, gradually tailing off in a fairly predictable manner. A good marketeer who knows his or her sector will be able to predict from the first few weeks results what the total response will eventually be quite accurately
An SEO campaign can take months to do the work and see it reflected, before a single click is collected. It can also be harder to quantify to the results exactly. A direct mail response device will contain a code to enable accurate lead/sale tracking, and hence ROI.
An SE referral may or may not be the result of the campaign. A sale from a direct navigation is still harder. If someone finds a site the first time from an SE due to an SEO campaign, revisits a couple of times, then bookmarks the site, and 2 months later buys £10,000 worth of product, it is hard to relate that sale to the SEO campaign, even though the causal link exists
>> That really doesn't cut it in the real world
There has to be give AND take to make it work. <gross exageration> Marketeers are too focussed on short-term results, webmasters/SEOs are too focussed on long-term building of the site, carefully seleting recip link partners, tweaking directory descs once a month etc </gross exageration> Whoever really cracks it first is going to make a bomb
>> He has no responsibility and usually no training to decipher raw Internet logs
Corollary : it is not the media buyers responsibility to learn to interpret circulation figures and the socio-economic appeal of other media
?????!? If the buyer can't understand a whole sector of the market, then he needs to correct that defect, doesn't he? Or am I being unfair here? If 'net logs is what you've got, then the job role just expanded :)
I agree with that, but it is a two way street, if the webmaster is not privy to what makes sense from an ROI standpoint, he can't deliver relevant reports. If I have access to the server logs, but not the cart data..I have a major "disconnect" with the client. If I have both, it is very easy to quantify the spend.
I normally insist on having access to both ends.
And then of course, we have other issues, like inbound telephone leads that the client never qualifies, the best data that I can usually glean from that situation is usually the receptionist or the sales secretary saying something like "wow, we are getting a lot of phone calls off the web site".
Clients have responsibility as well.
Let me explain a little more about my underlining assumptions. I am assuming that the web is part if the overall Information Technology area. IT has the responsibility for doing the analysis, development and delivery of the business systems needed within a company.
Given that, it is not the media buyer’s responsibility to analyze and developed the needed systems.
SEO efforts can be tracked with things like doorway pages. The source of new visitors can be tracked. The purchases of visitors can be tracked. The profitability of a customer can be tracked and related to the acquisition source. So a ROI on SEO is possible.
All these tracking efforts are in the IT bailiwick.
They are not being done and that is negatively impacting the media buyer’s efforts.
Media buyers are used to seeing efforts take several months. Here I am thinking about a catalog creation or the development of a TV ad. It takes as long as a SEO effort.
On the direct marketing side of the house they supply the needed information to the media buyer in a timely manner. On the web side this information isn’t collected or available for the media buyer.