Quick copywriter synopsis: Wales says, because everything online is very measurable, we measure everything. Impressions, click-through rates, conversions. But traditional brand advertising has to be measurable in other more traditional ways, like consumer awareness. Because we haven’t had a lot of that online, brand advertising online is extremely cheap. If you want to reach 40 million college students in the US, you can use Facebook and pay a lot less than advertising on TV.
My two cents is that marketers understand the direct marketing effect. We know when we send something out intentionally, under our own control, how to apply measurement. You send out an email, people click or don’t, you measure it.
But branding online is different. We can control the initial launch, but the ripple effect is harder to forecast or measure because once a brand campaign is online, it’s out of the advertiser’s hands. You have to be more sophisticated about measuring awareness that continues to grow organically. It’s worth doing, however, as well as applying more traditional branding measurements, as Wales suggests.