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Expert: What the Google/comScore deal means for online brands
By now most have heard about the new partnership between Google and comScore - a deal that would put comScore's vCE metric into Google's DoubleClick ad server. Some have touted the move as a way to measure the effectiveness of ads, but one expert suggests the online space needs more than this one move to give advertisers better metrics - and a reason to push more ad dollars into the online space.
Kristina: What does the Google/comScore really mean for the digital space?
David Waterman, Director, Search Engine Optimization & Content Development, The Search Agency: It basically means Google wants a bigger piece of big brand off-line marketing budgets and are afraid current display budgets (inclusive of advertising on video and mobile devices) may start to decrease if they can't provide metrics brands are comfortable with. Google already owns a big chunk of online spend through their search engine, but I'm sure Display has been a tougher nut to crack for them. Layering a more traditional off-line metric (from a trusted 3rd party data provider) onto online spend like display may result in more trust in the dollars brands are currently spending. I'm sure some of the larger spenders in online display advertising are starting to question the value they're getting from their campaigns. Aligning more traditional real-time audience measurements with online activity could start to provide more confidence and justification for dollars spent, and bring more brands to the table.
Kristina: Why is this not the tipping point where digital spending outstrips traditional?
David: There are still a ton of traditional marketers at the helm of big brand marketing departments. I'm sure there's a learning curve in regards to how online display advertising contributes to the bottom line. Even more web-savvy marketers have a difficult time justifying budget allocation in display. Until there are complete metrics that show how display contributes to brand discovery, product purchase and loyalty, its necessity will continue to be questioned by some. The comScore deal is definitely a step in the right direction, but until we see exactly what data is available through DoubleClick and Google's plan to continue to improve on this data, there will still be apprehensive marketers.
Kristina: Will there be a tipping point at some point in the future?
David: There could be. The more Gross Rating Point (GRP)-type data Google can layer on top of campaign metrics, the more comfortable marketers may become. I think it's going to require a combination of clear (and accurate) attribution modeling and other metrics that allow marketers to connect the Display dots more effectively to off-line activity before we see marketing dollars significantly start to tip.
Kristina: Why should brands not put all their advertising eggs (dollars) into the digital basket?
David: Although I work in the digital marketing industry, digital is not the Holy Grail. You still need a diverse mix of media and channels to meet your goals. In my opinion, digital should be in that mix, but the "mix" varies greatly by industry and individual business. As a marketer, it's up to you to figure out if your digital/traditional mix is 90/10, 50/50, 30/70 or something completely customized for your business goals. "Figuring it out" still relies on how clearly you can attribute marketing activity to business growth. The vaguer it is, the more likely it will be questioned and possibly dropped. If Google wants to convince more marketers to play in the digital world, they need to give them metrics that matter.
Image via Shutterstock
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