Internet Advertising Bureau Must Address Problems in Online Advertising

Keeping it honest

Millions are spent sending out messages, but almost nothing is spent on reviewing the results. It happens as often in traditional media as in new media – if not more so in the latter. It’s a problem in online advertising that allows kids to make great money, charlatans to succeed and confidence games to abound.

Below, a little Johnny Cash to set the tone of this blog post

……………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………….

Although most online advertising agencies do hope this problem will continue for many more years to come, I do not believe this ongoing failure to be in the best interest of the industry. Credibility, not blind faith and enthusiasm, will drive what I believe to be the most exciting communication channel ever to key to communication and marketing strategy.

Advertisers are not completely to blame for the lack of campaign measurement. Of course, they don’t want to spend money that they don’t have to spend. On the other hand, it’s easier for young upstarts in online advertising to talk about millions of impressions or clicks. Impressions and clicks, however, don’t really describe the impact of a campaign.

More importantly, it’s almost impossible for young upstarts or advertising heavyweights to provide deep business analysis of the sales and marketshare performance as it is related to their online campaigns.

Mistakes will be made

If the truth be told, few online agencies will ever deeply evaluate the value of an online strategy- much less measure it and improve it. And for good reason. Attention deficit disorder, creativity, curiosity, and excitement abounds in the online advertising industry- not characteristics like a passion for problem-solving, grace under pressure, or accountant-like tenacity. Worse, the search for value often means getting through the bad news before you can do what it takes to make (not manufacture) good news happen.

The American propane industry is burning 100 million dollars or more to build the propane brand through television ads. Ultimately, the results will be miserable. The novel television campaign based on the characters, Mr. Propane and Mr. Electric, may make propane a household name in the US, but the five or so year campaign will fail to significantly impact sales of propane and propane equipment.

Likewise, as fantastic, exciting and key as online strategy can be, the failure to have transactional impact happens more often in online advertising. maybe, it’s the wow factor. Maybe, it’s about the energy and excitement that gleams on anything about the internet.

And you don’t need to be the king of the hill to make the same mistake as the propane industry. You can be as sophisticated as Coca Cola with a global brand or a little company without a marketing department trying to jockey for a new position in the nut and snack food industry. Most likely, you’re spending money, year after year, without any kind of performance gain- even if you could begin to articulate and define the results that you seek to accomplish.

If you haven’t done it. You will. Be a sucker that is…

Measuring up

Knowing what measure is meaningful is important. Awareness, presence and understanding are over-rated. That may be all that impressions do – in the best case. What people take away from the impression or follow up to the click is meaningful. As the American propane industry will soon understand, behavioral change is even more meaningful.

Meaningfulness and relevancy of a campaign must correlate to transaction, performance, and/or money.

In the next five years, things may change. Advertisers might figure things out on their own. They can’t all be suckers. At least, not all the time! More likely, the long economic slowdown will get to the point where money gets tight. Hard times will encourage businesses to search their souls, ask hard questions, and demand results.

Passion and Responsibility

Change also depends on how seriously we at the Interactive Advertising Bureau are about our own sense of responsibility to the future and reputation of the online advertising industry. We support the growth, innovation and success of the most exciting communication and marketing channels available to the modern advertiser, yet it almost seems like we are paid by industry members (a la the IAB members’ membership fees).

What I mean to say is that there are times when we at IAB mistake our duty to support the industry to include overlooking some of the greates failures and widespread problems that hold down the value and merit of new media. It is an unintended consequence rather than a false consciousness. Still, it is a problem that remains unchallenged. Perhaps also because to do so would be to step on so many toes of friends and aquiantances throughout the industry.

Some may criticize IAB for the questionable funding of IAB start ups. IAB Mexico and the IAB UK did not begin as local initiatives. They were online advertising industry initiatives funded by global industry giants. Nor did Alain Hereux of IAB Belgium rise to leadership in IAB Europe without the financial support and pan-European aspirations of Belgium’s online advertising industry- aspirations which do not seem to include Eastern Europe regardless of EU membership.

All is fair in love and war… and business, some will say. Myself, I cannot comment further on these matters.

Next Steps

IAB and IAB Europe does much spin for the new media. We do much to keep attention on the positive. I don’t really have a problem with that. I do question our lack of enthusiasm and commitment, however, to engage solving industry problems behind the closed doors at IAB and IAB Europe meetings.

How shall we lead change and change a game that often amounts to the same old confidence game of traditional media in a bright, shiny web 2.0 package?

This is a question that I ask myself. Answers to the global problems in online advertising are key to leading change and growth in the Romanian online advertising industry. I am confident that we will someday rise up to such challenge. Resistance is futile. Even in Romania. Nor will the likes of Ciprian Stavar and Ovidiu Florea keep their confidence games going on forever.

Resistance is futile because a cover up is always poor business strategy. Anywhere in the world, be it in Brussels, Bucharest, New York or London.

Stan Faryna
March 5, 2007
Fairfax, Virginia

………………………………………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………………………………..

FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

>> Outsourcing
>> Great Websites
>> IAB Europe
>> Online Strategy
>> Open Source

………………………………………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………………………………..

About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is a member of the IAB European Leadership Council and National Director of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Romania. He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others. His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnal National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. You may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through the linkedin professional network at www.linkedin.com.

Speak from your heart!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: