Can, and Should, You Measure Your Digital ROI?

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Filed Under: Media Trends

In the spring of 2009, eMarketer predicted the web’s share of ad dollars would approach 15 percent by 2013. Now, ZenithOptimedia is reporting that digital advertising accounts for 22 percent of all media spending. It seems the ante has been upped just a bit.

And yet, while we integrate all manner of digital campaigns – retargeting, social activation, influencer engagements, etc. – how do you know if any of it is worthwhile?

An old advertising adage noted that companies waste half of all their advertising dollars, they just don’t know which half. And in the past, we couldn’t find out with certainty. Digital advertising promised to change all that with advanced analytics into consumption of media, engagement, geo-targeted advertising correlated with online buzz and other tracking technologies.

Yet, it seems that we’ve definitely pared down that “wasted half.” One of the largest global brands, and the largest brand on Facebook – Coca-Cola, came forward and admitted that “online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales” and that “display ads work about as well as TV.” We’re clearly not all the way there yet.

The most notable part of that quote, however, is the overlooked word – “measurable.” A “few” fans on Facebook (61.5 million if you want to get picky) with high levels of engagement and one of the most recognized brands certainly can’t rely on a single metric or measurement spot. Instead, it relies on a “combination of owned, earned, shared and paid media connections” as Coca-Cola’s Wendy Clark, senior VP-integrated marketing communications and capabilities clarified shortly after the initial brouhaha.

Further, Google has made strides in getting us part of the way in online analytics with multi-channel funnels, but we’re definitely not entirely there yet. A large X-factor still exists on the horizon, but now the key is having a clear understanding of where and how big yours is.


Jim Porçarelli
Jim is responsible for leading the company’s global strategic initiatives and he chairs the Executive Leadership Team. Jim brings 25 years strategic marketing and advertising experience to Active. Prior to joining the company in 2006, he was COO and Chief Client Officer at MediaCom (WPP) he was part of the core team that created MediaCom in the US and drove annual billings to $4.5 billion.

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