“Offline Metrics” Work Online Too

Still digging out of my baby-induced blog backlog and came across an interesting MediaPost article by Adam Kasper of Media Contacts.  He basically poses a challenge to the online media industry to pull together and come up with an online GRP.  This theme is echoed in a recent (and fantastic) whitepaper from Microsoft’s Atlas Institute, which gives a more comprehensive treatment along with some practical suggestions.

Development and use of online metrics comparable to those routinely used in offline media is an extremely important topic.  As Kasper points out, comparable metrics make it easier for marketers to follow their audiences online.  That’s for sure (and we still have a lot of work to do there), but there are also some practical reasons why these tried and true top of the funnel metrics are as important online as they are offline.  First off, keep in mind that nearly 90% of retail commerce still occurs offline (even higher in some key ad categories like CPG).  Offline sales simply do not generate the same volume of online-actionable direct metrics that, for example, a company like NetFlix does.  So there’s a real practical limit to the in-flight optimization that can be done for marketers whose supply chains terminate offline.  Concepts like composition, reach and frequency are still tremendously useful tools in this environment.  Secondly, for many campaigns more precise targeting may not valuable and/or may not be available at scale.  Privacy issues aside, I’m not sure that “laundry detergent purchase intender” targeting gets you much further than “women, 25-54 with children at home” does.  But I am sure that it’s more expensive and offers smaller scale.  These points are just a brief treatment of an issue I have written on at length in the past.

The bottom line is that, even though less sexy, these “offline metrics” can be just as useful online and we shouldn’t be ashamed of using them.  Brand.net has shown that quality media, tight management of frequency, maximized composition and full budget delivery drive measurable results at the cash register.  That’s sexy enough for me.

About Andy Atherton
I am currently an SVP at AppNexus. I previously spent four years as COO and cofounder of Brand.net, a pioneer in programmatic reserve technology and leading digital media buying solution for top brands. Prior to Brand.net, I was Vice President of Pricing and Yield Management for Yahoo!, responsible for maximizing monetization of a global portfolio of display inventory worth $2B annually. Beginning in 2002, I created, developed and globalized Yahoo’s PYM function over a period of five years. Prior to Yahoo!, I was president and cofounder of Optivo, a venture-backed start-up that developed price optimization software for e-commerce retailers. More on LinkedIn...

One Response to “Offline Metrics” Work Online Too

  1. Pingback: Microsoft gets it « Brand.net

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