For Credible Attribution, Keep Ads Offline

2017 03 16   Peter Feinstein   Online vs Offline Media    

I think Goodway Group COO Jay Friedman nails it in “Holistic Attribution Will Not Be Achieved Anytime Soon” (AdExchanger, Feb. 16). He draws attention to the contrast between the brilliance behind the development and implementation of Amazon’s Alexa and the ready, shoot, aim mentality behind many ad campaigns – where the desire for results often negates the thinking process needed to track the source and origin of each response.

The sad truth is that, in all but the smallest niches of advertising, the ability to successfully track ad response is a lost art. For example, one of those niches, the pay-per-action segment in offline media, pays such close attention to this process that necessity became the mother of invention. Players there can track clicks, form-fills, leads and even complex sales with simple yet elegant solutions.

Taking a wild foray into online media (“digital,” if you wish – just to make it sound legitimate), you lose virtually all capacity to connect the dots. Whatever your ad-tech solutions may be, they’re really just adding layers of opacity because you can’t get transparency and clarity by adding more hands in the pot; it stirs up and thickens the soup. And that makes divining intent nearly impossible.

At my agency, we have clients that come to us to escape the end results of their online advertising: “Virtually every online lead has one thing in common,” they lament. “They have no intention of actually buying from us.”

Marketers are willing to foot the bill for real, accurate attribution. That means moving back to what can be tracked cleanly and accurately, via offline media.