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Digital Data Simply Doesn’t Work Offline

2018 02 06   Peter Feinstein   Online vs Offline Media    

In this time of digital media, my younger and wildly passionate colleagues are so eager to try and fit a square peg into any hole – round, oblong, hexagonal – that it doesn’t seem to matter, as long as there is measurable output. But you cannot measure everything, nor should you want to.

We humans cannot realistically rely upon data to help us understand everything. Why not? Because humans aren’t digital. We’re everything that happens between 1 and 0. We are the mystery, the gray area, the unpredictable. So let’s take a bit of a breather from this frantic and insane perceived need to apply a metric to anything and everything in media that moves.

Columnist Baylen Springer has the right idea in “Are We Measuring TV Ads With The Equivalent Of The Click-Through Rate?” (AdExchanger, Jan. 8). We don’t need to get caught with our pants down using one metric for one thing and blindly applying it to another, only to find out it’s wrong.

At my agency, clients try to pigeonhole us all the time, wanting to apply their robust daily digital measurements to offline media. It’s actually kind of funny, except they don’t think so at first. Eventually, they buy into our mantra for having a day’s patience, and then a week’s patience. And they see that frantic application of daily measurement for digital media, which begs for it, doesn’t have any place in offline media.

I can hardly count the number of times that, after two days, clients have told us that they think we need to leave a particular outlet. I truly laugh out loud; they’ve just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with my firm for its expertise and, in a mere 48 hours, they are now the experts. And they think that because they’re the clients, they’re right. They’re not, and we tell them so. We wait the week, and time and again the outlet they told us to dump is among the top three performers in both raw response and conversions.

Don’t make the mistake of applying daily or, worse yet, intraday measurements needed for digital to any other media; you will end up cutting off your budget just to spite your ROI.