Advertisers are harsh when it comes to the internet.

While this may lead to a flood of comments picking at everything i have written , I am still going to pen the following thoughts down.

I believe that advertisers on the Internet are, comparatively,too harsh on the Internet and the online medium. Their expectations are often unfair and with respect to the larger picture, despite having proved it self as a strong , accountable , economic medium the net needs to prove it self over and over , every campaign , everytime. Why ?

The problem lies in the medium itself. One of its biggest advantage is its weakness as well. The internet offers accountability and tracking which before it , was quite frankly, a dream…. and advertisers have literally gone overboard with it.

Just to take an example lets consider a recent campaign..Maruti Swift ,lots of fanfare everywhere… lots of TVC’s , lots of half page spreads in the national dailies. Cars got sold , car sales saw a rise, people got to know about the product. Lots of articles , Autocar feature planning was done well blah blah. The marketing department at Maruti is still patting itself on the back , and the agency thrilled with the invoicing. Everyone’s happy……

….but i have a question.. i want to know which TVC , in which language, at which time spot on which channel on which day , targeting which demographics in which region , which city, did the best……. and the same for the print ads..and the same for the articles. How many cars got sold basis the review on Autocar….. yes… anyone?….. no one? cmon….!!… so many crores at not one detailed stat for me???

The standard answer would be something like – “it was a strategic balance between varying media platforms which resulted in the overall success of the campaign”… true… but thats not my answer…. The fact is that such detailed stats are simply not present or easy to acquire with our “darling boys”…….. but they are on the Internet.

There is a psychological shift the minute advertisers look at the Internet….Its ok to spend millions without a single verified action on the boys but not cool to spend 5-10% of the budget on the internet without each rupee being accountable. Its like Edmund Hillary..  why did he climb Everest..”because it was there”.. why are you asking for such detailed accountability.. “because its there”. How many cars actually got sold because of SRK/Zinta/Sachin.. individually…who cares , who knows..they are sexy!

Why should a medium that gets the lowest share in any media budget , be asked to be the most accountable?

Dont get me wrong, i am not advocating “no-accountability”…. i am simply asking why a branding campaign with ambigious end actions is ok on the tele, but a 50,000 campaign on the internet is not ok unless it has a “acceptable” CTR?

Why is an agency even raising the question of CTR’s when its a CPM driven campaign (generally viewed as visibility driven )…. the objective is visibility, product knowledge , get the name into the market… where does a CTR come into the picture?

The reason agencies are so stuck on CTR’s is because the same clients who dont really care or have traditionally managed and planned without such stats , suddenly become very “caring”…. and start grilling the agencies on CTR or if the CTR is high ,often complain that they did not get enough impressions… or both…..!

“We are wary of click frauds”….. ya sure… why not , every advertiser wants the max for his spend…. but i would like to know how many TVC’s are eventually seen by the servants at home when you infact thought that it would be the ” decision maker” of the house watching it.. but he’s out playing golf………………………..yes? The answer – “i dont know” , “no way to tell” ……. gee thanks….. just because the net can,  go grill it.

Its simple, advertisers (read corporates not agencies” are simply unfair in their treatment of this medium. Whether that is because of a lack of understanding , or traditional agencies and marketing guys handling online, or arrogance is subject of an all together different discussion but the question is whether this is how its going to be?..or will the rise in usage and popularity in the coming years will give us the same exemptions which the “darlings” are entitled to?

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