Last week at IAB MIXX (which turned out to be a good time) Facebook tried to get us all to spend more money on advertising, even though their platform isn’t generating the CTR that marketers have been comparing digital programs against for years now. Their argument was that reach and frequency are more important than CTR and we should look at TV as the example of how we measure and buy.
Funny, from just about every conversation I’ve heard about online advertising the entire point was to be better than TV. The whole argument was that consumers can’t do anything to interact with a TV ad (until we get MS Kinect enabled ads that is, BTW anyone want to work on that with me) so digital was the way that consumers could finally interact with ads and take action, which for marketers usually means buying or signing-up for something.
Seemingly a very hard argument to make, they did take the time to show plenty of data of how CTR didn’t drive sales but reach and frequency on a digital platform significantly influenced purchase decision. As a general rule too it’s safe to say that when certain products are on TV, it generates sales vs. when/if they’re not on. Of course, this is where you could get into the argument of TV dollars drives more distribution and in-store promo (and other things) which drives more sales as well, but that’s another story.
An interesting tenet of their talk though was what they didn’t do. Brad Smallwood from Facebook didn’t spend really anytime debating the question of whether or not you should be advertising online at all. Instead it focused on changing what metrics of online advertising were important. That was either a small omission in the interest of the overall conversation, or a very deliberate move to ensure that it doesn’t come across that the real question of advertising online or not even comes up. Unfortunately, I think that’s not a question enough people are asking anymore. What would happen if you just stopped following the trend and instead really re-evaluated every marketing channel and compared it to all of the possible means of connecting with your consumers? What would happen if you put all of your money into a different department like Customer Service?