GroupM global boss: Online data trail not good enough yet to beat broadcast

By Paul McIntyre | 16 July 2013
Dominic Procter, global CEO of Group M.

The global CEO of GroupM, Dominic Procter, has declared the industry is being seduced by online’s ability to measure stuff but it’s still not working properly for advertisers.

Mobile devices are the industry’s biggest issue where classic advertising will not work and new models are needed for advertisers to earn the right to deliver commercial messages to users.

Procter, who was in Australia last week, said the common argument that advertisers should proportionately follow the channels which users are spending their time with does not hold up for social media and mobile and that a slowdown in the transfer of dollars to digital was likely because new approaches were needed to make it effective.

 “I don’t think anybody has found the optimal way of using social media in the same way that people have found wonderful ways of using broadcast media," he said.

“If you are commuting on a train, people, generally speaking, are not lingering around banners. They are just getting past them so it goes to my point about the tacit understanding of a pay-off where people receive something for free in return for receiving advertising messages.

“It is to some extent coming to an agreement with the user that part of the price of getting a device cheaply is they will receive commercial messages, for example. There is a very clear tacit understanding that if someone watches commercial TV there is a trade-off that they will receive commercial messages. They know it because there is a commercial interruption but they are getting the program for free. That is accepted but it’s not yet the case for most mobile media and tablets. It needs to get there for the [ad] dollars to properly follow.”

Procter also acknowledged there were big gaps in the measurability of online media versus their effectiveness, which a recent ADMA paper labeled “false logic”.

“We must avoid the trap as an industry of valuing things just because they are measurable,” Procter said.

“It’s really the old cliché that people value things they can measure most accurately. Well, you can measure something that is wrong very accurately. There is that temptation every day in media because we are asked always to justify decisions and that can often include certain types of consultants and procurement people. It is easy to buy the wrong thing cheaply.”   

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