Initially I read the Microsoft engagement mapping announcement thinking this would be a remarkable innovation. They are claiming that EM will track a consumers interaction with advertising all the way to the point of sale which if done accurately would be a watershed in advertising accountability.
We’ve noted in many posts before how poorly advertisers track offline and even online advertising effectiveness, usually resorting to opportunisic reporting and explanations by their advertising agencies or reporting firms that stay in business because they support the agency advertising spends using questionable metrics.
Enter Engagement Mapping. Microsoft says:
“The ‘last ad clicked’ is an outdated and flawed approach because it essentially ignores all prior interactions the consumer has with a marketer’s message,” said Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions (APS) Division at Microsoft. “Our Engagement Mapping approach conveys how each ad exposure — whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels — influenced an eventual purchase. We believe it represents a quantum leap for advertisers and publishers who are seeking to maximize their online spends.” (bolding mine)
Read the bolded sentence again. Although I’ll have to see the methodology before rejecting it as bogus, that last line does not really suggest objectivity here. Rather it appears this is yet another way for a metric to support a course of action (increase online ad spending) rather than measure the effectiveness of that action.
This is standard fare for ad agencies who feed their kids by exaggerating the effectiveness of their campaigns so I guess it’s no surprise that Microsoft is going to help them do that for the online spends, which benefit…..wait for it ….. GOOGLE! And Microsoft too. But given Google’s approximately 50% share of all online spends I think Eric Schmidt should send Steve Ballmer a really nice gift. Maybe a even a Lazy Boy CHAIR?