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August 7, 2011, 7:11 am UTC
The ability to control and direct your advertising and media spent that web analytics allow for the web, is changing many fields in more ways than we care to admit
Information is power. For the media, advertising and branding professional more so. They put effort, time and money on something but are often unable to judge how and where exactly their efforts are going or whether their efforts are bearing the kind of results that they are expecting.
Take the example of a TV ad. You make an ad, and put it out there. But there’s never exactly any data about how many people have seen that ad and what is the direct response to that ad. Same for an ad in the print media. One can never know how many people have either seen it, or whether it has resulted in any sales.
That, however, is not the problem with the web, where analytics, like the one pioneered by Google allows one to know not just how many people have viewed it, but with real time data of how many people have clicked on the ad, it tells one of the effect that ad has had on people. And this possibility of analytics, is changing media, branding, advertising and even marketing more than what we are consciously aware of.
Since one could never know how many people have read an article or have seen an ad through the traditional means, hence every media decision was based more on arbitrary decisions than real statistics. Web statistics however allow you not only to know how many people have seen an article or an ad, but also lets one know how much time the person spent reading the page where the click directed the viewer to. This, to an advertiser and brand professional is invaluable data.
On the web thus, the decision to be associated with a portal or a brand can be associated with solid data. E.g. one can know the standing and viewership of a portal using often free services like Alexa.com that give one free analytics of a websites’ global and national standing and thus decide whether one wants to advertise on that portal or not and for how long and the amount of money one would be willing to spend on it. After one has chosen a site to lets say lay a banner ad on, most portals either directly or through Google Analytics, allows an advertisers to keep track of real time data of the number of PPC (pay per click) or PPV (Pay Per View) on their ads.
Most professionals have today begun taking web analytics for granted considering that they have existed for seven to eight years. But not many of us pay attention to how important they are and how they have changed the entire outlook of advertisers to the media in which they advertise. E.g. when a brand advertises on TV, they have to rely on arbitrary data of TRPs before they make their decision. In the same case in case of a newspaper or magazine, one has no other option but to believe the circulation number stated by a publication even when the brand knows that this stated number is an exaggeration by at least 10 percent and in some cases even by 70 to 80% of the actual circulation of that publication. On the web, the advertiser is in much greater control.
These, however are the initial days of the web analytics. As the same sharpens and gets better, there is bound to be much more segregation leading to the possibility of greater study and much detailed breakups that will make the advertisers make better advertising decisions.
Thus, whether one is aware or not, but web analytics is making the business of advertising and branding with different media, a very democratic activity and one that allows great control to the advertising, branding and marketing professional. And in that, it is changing these professions much more than we care to admit right now.
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