Just read an article that is going to cause me to rattle my sabre a lot this year!
Not-So-Banner Year for Digital: As budgets tighten, media such as display ads will come under scrutiny” as appeared on AdWeek.

Although I totally agree with the sentiments of the fact that far too much of digital advertising is based on an over simplistic view of online behavior, i.e. “let’s build a website and the see how many people we can get to it – within a month” – the notion of throwing baby out with bathwater on display advertising is ludicrous.

  1. It is assuming that all display follows the model of “click-to-convert” which let’s face it is hogwash. People rarely click. those who do rarely convert – not at numbers of any great significance at any rate – and you are missing the data of what 99.x% of people truly do online which is become aware, search for more info, discuss with friends, then convert offline or on reseller site that is not being tracked. The data we look at is skewed and misses true online effectiveness.
  2. I am not convinced that the majority of people can correctly analyze online behavior through what the interactive metrics currently reveal – let alone striving to get to the next level of cross-channel analysis we here are all desperate for. There is relatively little application of the most basic technology concepts of online conversions like conversion in banner, sequenced messaging, etc – as they are still looking purely at clicks – so how the heck are they going to be able to justify any kind of buzz marketing methodology?!! Good luck trying to convince, and justify marketing budgets on that one!
  3. Until designers learn how to control the creativity in social networks, and rather than design websites, they design Facebook/MySpace/YouTube content and justify their budgets that way – which will still need to be supported by paid media to instigate the groundswell – they will continually push micro site development to justify their jobs/create environments to play with new 3d Action script v8 or whatever. It would also seem that most creative agencies still refuse to admit that a good “web” designer can often be a shocking digital advertising person… Oh for the distinction between design and advertising agencies in the digital world!

To summarize – the piece may illustrate great concepts for online strategy, but unfortunately most people are far to time-pressured/misinformed/lazy (delete as appropriate) to implement the mind-blowing strategies that we only see once in a blue moon – else we would all have a lot more case studies to discuss! 90-odd percent of campaigns are still churning out the same old lazy clap-trap that they have been for years… and even the ones that do make the grade are poorly analyzed – and certainly never learned from and then apply the learning’s next time around… but apparently the lunch was nice!!

And that is why the digital evangelists, the innovators and ground breakers, need to scream a lot more loudly this year before we all drown in the mire of the digital dead waters…