Money is so much better than a click

5/06/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Folio Magazine blogged yesterday that "Branding Success Should Be Measured by Orders, Not Click-Throughs." This message challenges much of the breathless assertions about value inferences from digital analytics as well as adheres to marketing and business fundamental concepts. We have got so caught up with how well we can "count" (categorize, weight, etc.) the views of an ad, that there is often a decline in focus on successfully selling.

Just as the analytics have become sophisticated, the arts of spam and scam have also reached unanticipated levels of refinement -- "more than a third of web traffic is fraudulent . . . only 40 percent of the ads measured were actually viewable . . . "  Folio's blogger, Roy Beagley, writes, "Viruses and bots can inflate click-throughs, page views and a whole host of other nasty things, but as far as I am aware, viruses and bots have not actually placed any orders."

For the past few years, those of us who work in the PR research community been trying to pound a basic concept into the heads of marketers and digital enthusiasts. The following is what you can measure:

Outputs -- The stuff you (the marketer) did. The ads you placed. The media releases you distributed. The party you threw. The brochures you handed out. This is the stuff on which you spent your money. Research and analytics at this point are in the realm of process audit.

Outtakes -- The immediate reactions to the Output.  This includes the view and click-throughs. It includes the media coverage resulting from your releases and events. It includes the inquiries you get over your 800-number. And the comments on your blog.  All good stuff. This is the stuff that immediately results from how you spent your money. And it directly earns you nothing. Research and measurement at this point are in the realm of environmental (market) monitoring.

Outcomes -- Sales. Orders. Votes. Memberships. Commitments. Revenues. This is how you can truly measure the value of the Output to the enterprise.  If ROI (return on investment) can legitimately used in marketing communications, this is the point. Research and measurement at this point are financial.