Internet Advertising Is under Assault

By Rob Walker N. Y. Times News Service | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 1, 2001 | Go to article overview

Internet Advertising Is under Assault


Rob Walker N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD


In its early days, Internet advertising offered what seemed to be a distinct competitive advantage over its older, offline kin: measurability.

Throughout the history of advertising, it has been notoriously difficult to draw a direct line from a given piece of marketing -- a TV spot, a magazine ad -- to a sale. "The Net, though, is different," according to one reasonable-sounding argument that was expounded in Wired magazine in 1996.

"The Net is accountable," the Wired article said. "It is knowable. It is the highway leading marketers to their holy grail: single-sourcing technology that can definitively tie the information consumers receive to the purchases they make."

At the time, Procter & Gamble had provided support for that thesis by deciding to base payments for its online advertising on click-through -- the number of times a Web surfer was interested enough in an online ad to give it a click. Suddenly, all those other unaccountable forms of advertising, not to mention the media companies that depended on them, were thought to be in serious danger.

But measurability has not turned out to be the great strength of Internet advertising. It has turned out to be its most conspicuous weakness. The problem is that it is hard to prove that no one is paying attention to a given television commercial. But it is easy to prove that practically nobody is clicking on a Web ad, leading to a perception that most online ads do not work.

The upshot, a recent Jupiter Media Metrix report groused, is that many marketers are still incapable of evaluating online ad spending effectively. Instead, the report said, marketers "focus on quantitative metrics like the cost per click and cost per conversion, not on more qualitative metrics like lifetime customer value and cost per shift in brand perception." A separate Jupiter report argued that "the actual number of customers that Internet advertising generates is often several multiples above what is tracked directly."

Last month, Marketwatch.com announced that it would no longer even report click-through rates to its advertisers unless they specifically requested them. "It's a meaningless measurement," a company spokesman said in an article in The Industry Standard.

Of course, the actions of a Web site like Marketwatch.com are less crucial to marketing trends than the actions of a Procter & Gamble. But still, the click-through has been under assault for quite some time, and the question now is whether an online marketing paradigm will be built around some new, better, more precise group of measurements or will fall back on the squishier evidence that advertising has traditionally relied upon.

Tom Sperry, president of the Atlas DMT technology division of the Seattle digital marketing firm Avenue A, suggests that click- through will not go away but will be supplemented by an array of emerging measurements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Internet Advertising Is under Assault
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.