Don’t Waste time on Reporting because People don’t care about them

Occasionally I teach digital marketing at a local school. It is a complete course with various topics and I only cover some of them. This week I taught “Measurement in Digital marketing”.

To start off, we discussed WHY we needed to provide measurement/reports for Online activities. It sounded like a silly question I knew but we wanted to make sure the type of reports we gave fulfilled basic requirements by marketers.

As we know, digital marketing still has a very limited budget as compared to traditional marketing despite the fact that people spend more and more time online. So we want to understand if reporting is one of the reasons why people don’t use digital marketing.

The questions I asked my students were:

  • Do you receive a report after booking a PR or an ads on Print?
  • Do you receive a report after using billboard?
  • Do you receive a report after running a TV ads?
  • If you do, what type of information is often in the report?
  • Is it about how your ads appears? whether they appear in the right format and for the correct amount of time?
  • Some screenshots/media clipping may be?

We ended up with the conclusions for the Vietnam market:

  • People don’t really care about reports for OFFLINE channels
  • Publishers/traditional media owners often care about how the ads appear and THAT IS ALL
  • Reporting if any is often to show screenshots/photographs
  • Only for some big companies they use third-party services like Ac Nielsen or TNS to give ESTIMATED data on how many people they can reach, cost per reach, whether the ad is shown to the right target audience etc…
  • During planning stage, AC Nielsen or TNS data are used if the target audience is well-defined in terms of gender, age group, income class, location etc…

So you can see with very little REPORTING (as compared to Online), traditional media can still command a very VERY big percentage of the marketing budget (close to 97% on average).

For online marketing we have reporting on:

  • Impressions
  • Click
  • Click through rate
  • Cost per Click
  • Time on Site
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pageview
  • Traffic sources
  • Keywords
  • Conversion
  • Conversion rate
  • etc…

So what is wrong with the current reporting format for Digital marketing? Are Digital marketers trying to make them sound sophisticated yet not providing simple numbers that Offline/Traditional Marketers need to SPEND their money?

All traditional marketers care about when choosing channels  in Vietnam are:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach (in ESTIMATED absolute value)
  • Reach (in percentage)
  • Are there any third-party validation to these claims i.e. AC Nielsen or TNS?

Why Digital marketing does NOT give just these numbers and save ourselves tone of hard work?

Of course, traditional media and Digital media are two different things so the measurement should be different. However, one question that brand manager may ask is what this 50,000 clicks that my agency is proposing really MEANS? Does that mean my brand awareness would increase from 10% to 14%? If I spend $10,000 on Digital media, can i have 30% reach for my target audience???

From a traditional marketers: Traditionally, over the years, i have planned my marketing media this way and now this so-called “new digital marketing” comes along and they use all kind of jargons that i don’t understand at all! More importantly, if they claim that they can give more accurate reporting, why they can NOT answer the simple questions I asked like brand awareness or REACH?

I hope by now you would have an idea of what I am trying to discuss here.

The real issue here i believe is EDUCATION, a new Paradigm shift and “new technology”. It’s not that for Digital marketing, we can NOT give the same set of numbers that Offline world is using. Companies like comScore uses the same PANEL approach/same measurement methodology as TNS or AC Nielsen and they give exactly the same set of numbers that AC Nielsen or TNS. The only thing is that we either don’t know, don’t care or don’t have the money to use services of companies like comScore.

Besides, we as digital marketers need to go one step further and explain what does these jargons (click, bounce rate) that we often use for Online world really MEAN in marketing TERMS. This is where the issue of lacking professional Digital marketers comes in.

Online marketing is too new in Vietnam. From the beginning of the Internet in Vietnam, people who were exposed to it/liked it were mostly IT professionals with little or no background of marketing. When we talk about website, source code, time on site, traffic source, URL builder, conversion etc… marketers often refer to them as too TECHNICAL. My IT team would take care of that….

However, the issue here is that IT department does NOT do Marketing. It’s just not within their job scope. They don’t really care about reach, or brand awareness or know the effect of offline campaigns with Online initiatives. They are NOT involved in the marketing plan. They are not involved in the review stage after the plan is run as well! So well you can see the dilemma here.

Companies in Vietnam are struggling to hire professional Digital marketers in general, let alone specialties like SEM, SEO, Social Media etc… This leads to a very hesitant approach towards Online marketing.

Since today discussion is about Measurement so i don’t want to go too far off topic.

Feel free to drop any comments you may have here.

Have a great weekend!





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