Category Archives: measurement

Big Data: Savior or Anti-Christ?

Anybody read any good pieces about big data lately?  Those of us in the marketing/media/advertising complex can’t stumble into a stream of things we should be reading on the industry without being slapped in the face with a headline or two on the topic two or three times an hour or, at least, a day depending on whom or what one prioritizes in one’s stream.

Since coverage of big data is contributing to big data and since I’m but a human who does not have sufficient capacity on hand to process it all, I couldn’t possibly plant links to pertinent articles, but simply will share a couple of themes I picked up from headlines in my stream the past few weeks or so.

The genius, of course, is that if you want to read more about these themes, you will leverage the big data of a search engine with some pieces of the information I’m providing below to find the articles on big data.  I’m helping you learn to cope.  Your welcome.  It’s all just so, well, big and data-y…

The head of one of the agency holding companies said all media markets will operate like digital exchanges sooner than later (I think this was on FT or some other pay-walled situation)

Someone said markets operating on big data are killing creative, while someone else said its making creative better since it’s tied more directly to business metrics – or maybe that was all in the same article (Maybe this was in MediaPost or AdAge)

Another said something about big data actually pointing to a lot of really good “little” ideas that can have “big” impact as long as you know how to mine the big data to find these gems (I think this was on the blog of analyst or consultant or a consultative analyst)

My personal favorite was Cobra Commander’s perspective.

I’m a bit geeky.  I like books about taxonomy and the history of information and how people used stuff before so we can understand or hypothesize how they might use new stuff now and in the future.  I like tinkering around with lots of numbers in spreadsheets so I can uncover an interesting story.  I’m not a 1’s and 0’s kind of geek.  I’m more of a know enough to be dangerous about how the plumbing works such that I can understand how the toilet, sink and shower are in the right places at the right times – even if it may be different than before.  If big data can help that be done, that is fantastic.

What I’m trying really hard not to say but am just going to say anyway is know what it is you want data of any size to do for you, to solve for you, to support for you before you start trying to process it.  Thinking about it that way should help you trim through the noise of the bigness, the veiled and unveiled fear of it, and make it another part of your toolbox of strategic goodness.

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Yonger demos are "watching" more commercials…while online at the same time?

I really, really, really need to stop even glancing at trade press headlines. I read the headlines and discount them way too quickly, yet give them a chance and read the story hoping for salvation, only to find my discounting was correct. To wit…

Ad-On: Uptick in young demos watching TV spots from MediaPost. That’s interesting, but as soon as I read the headline and when I clicked I was hoping to see some sort of reference to yesterday’s lead headline in MediaPost, i.e. that heavy TV watchers are also heavy Internet users and they tend to do both at the same time. So, extending that to this story, even if they are “watching” w/in the parameters of the much vaunted C3 style on DVR, they’re probably still multi-tasking and probably don’t pay all that much attention to the commercials (or the need to fast forward through them) the headline says they are “watching”.

Alas, this connection was not made. And this lack of connection is especially sad when you consider MediaPost covers, um, the media industry and their primary vehicle for covering the media industry is digital and if a media vehicle that covers media doesn’t realize that media usage isn’t linear anymore and that you can’t assume someone read yesterday’s lead headline and/or story then read today’s lead headline and/or story to put two and two together and think critically about both pieces who does?

Yeah, I get the sources in the story were different and though I didn’t and don’t plan to check if the reporters were different for each story, an editor somewhere should’ve caught that the lead headlines in subsequent days are somewhat relevant to each other yet take pretty different POVs. What a great opportunity for a digital media vehicle covering media to open up a conversation about the topic at hand – how much “watching” is really going on even if people aren’t fast forwarding through spots given the heaviest TV viewers show a habit of being heavy Internet users while “watching” TV?

Instead, depending on who saw which lead headline when you get people who are only half informed. And, frankly, today’s story is the kind of pandering to “old” media – it’s OK, young people are watching TV commercials – that drives me crazy. Read w/o yesterday’s story for context, it seems to advocate sticking to one’s guns vs. changing.

And, really, don’t we all need a little change?

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Filed under bad media, measurement, media on media, media usage

Nielsen says people who use Internet alot watch TV alot; Jerry says welcome to the late 20th century

I recently scolded some former team members of mine about their negative attitude towards people in this industry who are not technically inclined and thus suffer from minute cases of not understanding the digital media world in which we live. I quoted Gandhi. I reminded them this ignorance keeps those of us who are savvy in the digital media world in jobs. I will attempt to practice what I preach. I’m guessing I won’t be terribly successful. I expect a rebuke or two from those who know who they are…

When I saw this headline touted as if it’s new, ground-breaking news, all I can see pulsating in my brain is WTF?!?!?! Though I can’t quite put my finger on when I first saw this type of info reported, I’m relatively certain it was in the late 20th, or very early on 21st century.

Is this news because that holy grail of media measurement Nielsen is releasing this information because, obviously, their media measurement is the quintessential best (sarcasm, folks, pure and simple…how about a little more)? Yeah, that probably is news since, per Gandhi, Nielsen has done the ignore, laugh, fight and is now realizing in order to win (or at least reach parity) they need to change what they’re doing. Glad it took them roughly 10 years from the first time I saw this kind of data reported.

SERENITY NOW! (oh, look at me, quoting from a TV show even though I’m a heavy Internet user…Nielsen is so right…)

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Prove It

“Prove it. Just the facts. The confidential.
This case, this case, this case that I’ve been workin‘ on so long…
It’s too “too too” to put a finger on
This case is closed”

Television, Prove It

The following is separate but related

Think about this – as more people are using more media in a social/pull context vs. passive/push context, subjective opinion as a means to and important input into decision making among that vast rabble we fondly refer to as our audience, our customers, our guests is becoming much more prevalent. People are becoming more damned unpredictable as they become more empowered to talk to one other more freely.

At this same moment in time we are more and more challenged to produce and prove objective, sustainable, predictable results. And, by God, we’ve got the tools to measure exposure to advertising to a consumers next visit to the john and extrapolate w/ statistical confidence when it will happen again. And we’ve got more and more number crunchers with more and more computing power crunching away.

Juxtapose that linear number crunching x leads to y which produces z thinking w/ the prevalent thought that our precious “funnel” looks more like an infinity sign. Awareness to purchase, regardless of category of purchase, can take 10 seconds, 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days, 10 weeks or 10 years due to either the speed at which a person can now find exactly what they want or the motivation of the person to dig for as much information as possible – from the portion of a paper product that is made from recyclable material to the intricacies of battery power vs. combustible engine power on a car – because it’s now available and find-able.

Hmmm, this line of thinking could take me in a few different directions. I’ll leave it open for now and perhaps will pick it up later. Feel free to pick up the thread as you see fit.

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Mastering Basic Economic Concepts 201: Commoditization vs. Value Proposition

Interesting piece on the Daily AdAge video regarding the pros and cons associated with the growth of online ad networks.

Within that discussion, Wenda Harris Millard from Martha/Omnimedia points out that we are potentially in a place where online media is becoming commoditized before the true and full value proposition is understood.

Hmm, that’s an interesting point and very much related to the Supply and Demand post from last week, but I think it’s a bit too simplistic and doesn’t really follow the history of where online media has been – or even take into account phenomenon such as direct response TV. Of course, the context is a short soundbite from a daily video report of the trade news, so I’ll assume the points I’m about to make were subsequently brought to light by Wenda or others…

Online media came out of the box as a commodity, initially a boon to marketers of the direct orientation due to it’s measurability and inherent ability to balance supply and demand. And though returns on such approaches are waning as more and more people come online (another basic economic concept for you – the funnel is getting fuller at the top and people are getting a lot smarter on how to use the web lower in the funnel), it is still an extremely efficient medium for acquisition.

However, now that we are at a point of cable-like penetration (70%+ last I cared to look) and huge swaths of people using the media as a social mechanism, I’d say we are at a state of truly defining the new value proposition that digital media provides.

It’s not CPC, CPA or CPM based, that’s for sure. However, the rate of exchange to negotiate the medium has to live somewhere in there because deriving value from a more social medium involves personally relevant metrics. It doesn’t make sense to expect media companies to define value in a social space in a universally acceptable media unit of exchange.

That means marketers and agencies will have to do more work in cultivating the relevant metrics and insights they want from “the community”, benchmark them, then negotiate front-end costs in such a way that the value derived at the other end is acceptable, and maybe even develop hybrid models that provide incentives for media partners that can best deliver these personal goals/metrics.

It’s not rocket science, folks (it’s pretty much what affiliate marketing already is), but I don’t think it’s commodity vs. value proposition either. It’s understanding the role you want the medium to play, then developing the correct programs to pay it off.

I know some scoff when folks say digital media can be used against practically any objective. Perhaps we should consider broadcast – home of beautiful brand advertising as well as bastion for informercials, HSN and QVC. Pretty broad spectrum of objectives being delivered there, and mostly done with hybrid pricing models that may start with a CPM but end with response.

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Quote(s) of the Day – Fact vs. Gut

Have been thinking quite a bit lately about the ever increasing analytics involved with marketing. The following quotes are from Merlin Donald, a psychologist who writes extensively (A Mind So Rare, Origins of the Modern Mind) on how human consciousness and the mind develops its powers, then changes and evolves.

Yeah, just a little light reading, but I hope you find the quotes as thought-provoking as I did when considering fact-based decision making vs. gut-based decision making – and the subsequent proof needed in supporting whether something accomplished it’s objective.

“The first step in any new era of theory development is always anti mythic. Things and events must be stripped of their mythic significances before they can be subjected to…objective theoretic analysis. In fact, the meaning of ‘objectivity’ is precisely this: a process of demythilogization.”

“The switch from a predominantly narrative mode of thought to a predominantly analytic or theoretic mode apparently requires a wrenching cultural transformation.”

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I did not have personally identafiable information on that woman, Senator

Targeted advertising has now been compared to non-approved wire tapping by a couple of Senators.

The type of targeting referenced is not the real life version of 1984 or Minority Report. It is targeting done based on a model that aggregates behaviors then serves advertising that is relevant based on the aggregated behavior. It does not use PII – Personally Identifiable Information – unless it is openly and freely shared by someone who grants it’s use for such purposes. The intent is to make sure people in need of Pampers aren’t having to see ads for Depends. It provides a greater good, a better experience, no one is harmed, and no information is used against the people seeing the more relevant ads.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you lean, to compare it to breaking FISA legislation seems a bit extreme. It also makes the future of advertising a bit worrisome. If the legislative powers that be are making these kinds of statements, are we staring down an age of non-targeted, shotgun advertising at a point in time when the technology is in place to be more relevant than ever? Scary.

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