Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic took a look at this graph from MorganStanley analyst Mary Meeker and paused to consider what it means. For people working in digital advertising, it means there’s a long ways to go before media consumption and online ad spending meet in a happy place.
Of course, Madrigal doesn’t work in digital advertising, he’s an editor at a well established media property. Here’s what he sees…
The thinking has long been that advertising dollars follow “eyeballs” — that is to say people — wherever they go. If they go to magazines, advertisers buy ads there. If they go to TV, advertisers buy ads there. And, so, logically, if they go to the Internet, advertisers will buy ads here.
But maybe they won’t. Or at least, maybe they won’t buy the same kinds or amounts of ads. Instead of making superexpensive ads that sit next to Christopher Hitchens columns, they’ll just make their own websites and Facebook pages, promote them through social media, and leave the whole content-creation subsidy out of it.
I’m all for DIY media production, but one of the main considerations here is that online ads are more easily tracked; therefore, it’s easier for a client to say no to them, given their lackluster performance. Yet, I have to say once again that online ads are not easy to track, not when you’ve got your head stuck in clickthrough rates.
Clickthrough is not the end all be all of online advertising. You need to measure reach, just like you do with print and broadcast.