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How Many Are You Reaching and Who Are They?

by Roy Young  |  
July 30, 2007

Answer these questions convincingly, and emerging media enters the big leagues of advertising. Writing in Ad Age last week, Steve Rubel, Senior VP at Edelman's Me2Revolution practice and a thought-leading blogger and media strategist, writes that a metric to track "influence" is the holy grail for advertisers who are monitoring the new digital media.

Audiences I have addressed recently on the subject of "new" marketing, along with MarketingProfs seminar audiences, never fail to ask the question about measures of impact for new media. After all, marketers have made a lot of progress to identify which half of their budget gets results, thus overcoming the challenge of accountability. We now have methodologies and repeatable processes to measure marketing effectiveness and efficiency.
Still, for emerging media, you may have to be satisfied with qualitative measures of impact. At least for now. After all, if you have two readers of your blog, and those two readers have the first name of Steve (Balmer and Jobs), your blog may be far more influential than another blog on technology with thousands of readers.
Rubel says that Edelman is currently testing a new measurement system, and I suspect many other media measurement companies have tests in the works as well.
How do you answer these questions, and what's convincing to the uninitiated?

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Roy Young is coauthor of Marketing Champions: Practical Strategies for Improving Marketing's Power, Influence and Business Impact. For more information about the book, go to or order at Amazon.

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  • by Elaine Fogel Mon Jul 30, 2007 via blog

    Thought-provoking post, Roy. You make a good point about reaching the "right" or influential reader. It isn't necessarily about quantity. Isn't it the same for other traditional advertising that isn't easily measured quantitatively? Especially in B2B, one good response from a customer with amazing lifetime value pays for a trade magazine ad campaign. Yet, it's often difficult to show measurable results to the CEO for such campaigns.

  • by Mona Piontkowski, Irvine, CA Mon Jul 30, 2007 via blog

    One "right" reader is worth hundreds is true in traditional media advertising and even more so in Internet advertising. We all get solicited by print media trying to pump up their number of readers - often I know, I don't even read some of the publications that cross my desk - I'm not really interested in many of them. What numbers are important to online marketers? That is the question we are wrestling with. Is it sheer number of hits or viewers - do the number take into account the bots? And if I quantify differently than the next person - do I come across better, worse or just more creative? Hard to figure what to charge for advertising on the net - how can you guarantee the eyeballs? I'd love to hear everyone's opinions. Mona Piontkowski

  • by gianandrea Wed Aug 1, 2007 via blog

    Numbers are important, but if we reduce the power of the Web 2.0 to merely quantitative we put it at the same level of mass media. I would rather disappointed for this as the way the Web 2.0 forms of communication work are completely different from how mass media work. The beauty of the Holy Grail is that no one has find it, yet.

  • by Brian Carter Thu Aug 9, 2007 via blog

    For the quantitative I use Google Analytics. But for qualitative, the key is getting real human responses. For example, the blog comments on these articles. Marketing Profs does a good job making commenting easy. Or emails. My little bit of wisdom after 8 years of internet marketing and brand building is that quantitative analysis does not yield the actionable conclusions you would expect. To me, most useful in analytics is keywords they used to find you. But there are frameworks like personality/behavioral targeting that I'm not an expert at that might better use quantitative data. You can get lost in the numbers unless you approach them with clear questions in mind. Back to the qualitative and who your readers are: If you want to clarify your readership AND get responses, make controversial statements and don't qualify them.

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