Media Planning & Buying

The Newest "Biggest Agency Sin"

Posted by Jay Friedman on October 4th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Like snobby socialites who look down on the couple who just bought their meager 50' yacht, folks just like you and me gather at digital media conferences throughout the year and pity the poor saps who still look at CTR as their primary metric.  "Oh, how 1998 of them!"  "Why don't you just throw your money on TV!"  Ha ha ha, we all laugh.  And, as a metaphorical canyon to echo these laughs, comScore's 'is anyone really clicking anymore?' study was just updated, showing that only 16% of the online population compromises 80% of all clicks. Maybe the laughs were reasonable?

While focusing on CTR and not on measured outcomes is certainly a sin, a bigger one is out there that I didn't know was still occurring until recently.  Apparently there are agencies who absolutely can and do measure outcomes and use them as their primary metric - but don't let publishers pixel those outcomes to optimize!  I could've sworn that not allowing publishers/networks to place conversion pixels was a thing of the past - the thin necktie of online.  Not so.

So what could be the rationale here?  Universal conversion tags have existed for years, allowing a one-time placement of a conversion tag on a site and then implementation and removal of publisher tags from within the ad server.  So, the latency concern and site "structural integrity" concern are gone, so it's not that issue.  We all now know exactly how universal tags work in that they're not giving any private information to publishers, so privacy isn't the concern.

So what is it?  I honestly don't know, but I do know that both the agency and the client lose out on significant performance upside when campaigns are operated this way. In an era where "win win" is so important, why would anyone work within a "lose lose" scenario?

Leave a comment