Over the last month, as I have been preparing to submit my second Masters assignment reflecting upon my own professional development, I have been involved in a couple of meetings that have made me stop and think about where things are at.

Bouncing off some keen statistical thinkers, such as Caroline Vogt at Microsoft and Eyeblaster’s own Yael Tolub, I find the challenge of such analytical minds an empowerment to someone such as myself from a creative background. It helps bring calculated substance to a concept and between us to challenge the status quo. If clicks are indeed dying, if context does indeed matter – how should creative be adjusted accordingly?

My desire is that more and more creative professional s will grasp the commercial nature of what they are doing and find new models of justifying their existence beyond art for art’s sake. The power and position of dynamic digital advertising is yet to reach a tipping point; recent and continual acquisitions and mergers, the rise of behavioural targeting, and the start of cross-device advertising all have their place, but the real crux will be in redefining the nature and role of advertising and how to better facilitate conversations between clients and consumers. There exists a need to find a more symbiotic appreciation of each other as opposed to seeing the other as some kind of parasite of both time and money.

From a commercial point of view, data equals dependency. As soon as we realise what has happened and why, it will ensure that the next phased will be more informed and less random then the last and in doing so achieve a greater success and confidence for moving forward. Clients need to understand consumer habits. Consumers need to appreciate advertising as a means of informing and influencing their choices. Methods for investigating context and relevance are beginning to shed insight into this from an advertising perspective.

It was a healthy breath of fresh air the other day to learn of a recent study into the role of clicks in the actual justification for the effectiveness of advertising. I have long been and advocate of moving towards ‘unique eyeballs’ as a real measurement for growth over ambiguous impressions and clicks that by my mind are merely informative rather than inspirational methods for determining success. In all my analysis of campaigns to date, they are by no means are they as critical as most would assume.

Don’t Click This Ad

It may surprise some to learn that less than 6% of the online population click on ads – but that 6% make up 50% of all ad clickers. Oops – that means take your declining click-thru rate (CTR) and cut it in half again! With our data so severely skewed – what KIND of person actually clicks or even fills in a branding study – are they representative of the whole or merely a particular segment and worse, a segment we do not necessarily be wish to be engage with anyway. Are these ‘clickers’ really going to become ‘converters’?

“The researchers said that the data suggested no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked.”

We need to unpack this. We need to look at Ethnography and the role of qualitative and quantitative research and trying to understand the human behaviour in digital advertising and its bearing on how to make better and greater campaigns that produce real, as opposed to assumed, success. It’s a start and will call many minds into trying to figure this one out. Sitting and listening to insights into Robert Heath’s ‘low level processing’ resonates with me as a creative strategist – but how do you develop this knowledge into practical considerations when developing a creative concept – especially across a plethora of devices and medias that a consumer now has to engage with? How does one influence the other and is there any correlation between consumer life cycles and exposure to advertising across devices – and if so how to de we deliver timely and relevant messaging as people flow throughout their day?

Feel free to share your own thoughts and insights or fire across any relevant research or articles. Here’s another for those interested:

So Many Ads, So Few Clicks

Google may have got rich-quick and entrenched a commercial model for justifying advertising success, but that was a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Back to reality of interactive living in the 21st Century, my view on clicks – it simply is the wrong metric.