Should Google Use Broadcast Measurement Metrics for AdWords?

Sorry for the hiatus in blog posts, but we’ve got a couple of good ones in the hopper for this month!

Last week, a post on the DoubleClick Advertisers blog revealed that Google is working to create new measurement metrics for AdWords beyond simple impressions and click-throughs.  The idea is formulated around brands who want to be able to measure the impact of their brand online, similar to the way they do it offline with Gross Ratings Points (GRP’s), which has been used since the 1950′s for measuring broadcast reach and frequency.  In Google’s case, they will refer to it as “Active GRP” because the advertiser will be able to react in real-time.

It seems like this is a move to appeal to the large brand advertisers, like Nike or Procter & Gamble, who are contributing billions to Google’s cash cow.  The marketers behind these brands are trying to correlate their broadcast big spending to their online spend, but it’s like comparing apples and oranges.  In broadcast, you can demographically segment where you want your ads to appear, and so you know if your creative resonated well with the 25-35 year-old females who earn $100K per year.  Online, we can’t do that very well.

Also, if you look at a large brand’s marketing budget, you’ll likely see that the lion share is allocated to broadcast, with expensive productions and air time costs, compared to a dwarfed online budget.  Even though the online is more “measurable”, they really don’t have any insights to things like brand recall, and if the ad copy or banner creative resonated with a particular audience.  So, in order for Google to convince these brands to allocate more dollars to online spend, they’re going to have to give them similar metrics for measurement.

What does this mean for small business?

I’m afraid not much.  This is obviously a ploy by Google to grab more advertising dollars from the large brands, and so introducing a new measurement metric to the SMB’s will be counter-intuitive.  Most of the SMB’s I talk to are still trying to grasp the concept of click-throughs and conversions.

Besides, I’m not so sure that 1950′s measurement technologies are the most useful anyway – after all, have you ever met a single person who had one of those Nielsen “black boxes” on their TV?  I didn’t think so.

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