Measurement is key to building brands but it’s worrying if the entire digital industry is built on meaningless metrics, says the boss of global research powerhouse Kantar Insights.
Gonzalo Fuentes, the Singapore-based global CEO of the firm's media and digital practice, leads Kantar’s digital and media practice and is concerned at the way brand building and its measurement has changed.
He says many of the digital metrics available and the way they are used by marketers and businesses to measure success is driving a short term approach to marketing activity, and a view that it’s the metrics, not the outcomes, that are important.
That short-term approach from marketers in turn leads to more adblocking-style behaviours from consumers.
“We live in a world where measurement is becoming the protagonist more than the outcomes [of marketing],” he says.
“The promise of digital that we can measure everything, is leading to more performance-based advertising. If advertising is being judged on how many click throughs it gets, then the advertiser is going to make a very specific kind of ad. Our point of view is that many of the metrics are very valid to measure, but it depends on the objectives you have.”
He adds that the “elephant in the room” is that some of the metrics are not worth anything.
“Most agencies are optimising for clickthrough rates, but clickthrough rates are meaningless in terms of sales or brand impact. It’s a very scary thing when you have an entire industry built on metrics that are worthless,” he says.
“The promise of performance metrics and the fantasy of real time optimisation have meant marketers think they can get information and optimise in real time.”
“Our view [at Kantar] is that you measure brand metrics because brand is a proxy for sales. If you have a strong brand you will have better sales results. If you have a weak brand, you will have weaker sales,” he says.
He believes that the siloed nature of digital measurement has been a problem in the past and claims Kantar’s approach is to find synergies between brand and digital metrics so that marketers can have a holistic idea of what is working.
“Cynicism against digital has increased in 2017, but I’m not cynical - I’m realistic. Digital is good for brand building but the complex walled gardens mean that we're forgetting the basics of measurement.”
“What we do is help advertisers build their brands in the mayhem of the digital world.”
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