What's Inside Microsoft's Engagement Mapping 'Black Box'?

Scott Karp profile picture
Scott Karp

Microsoft announced yesterday that they are going after the holy grail of advertising: integrated ROI measurement and tracking. The big problem with the online ROI measurement that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is targeting is the inability to assign quantifiable value to brand advertising, e.g. banner ads, and which results in disproportionate value being assigned to search advertising — the “last click” which typically leads to a measurable actions like a purchase.

This is the holy grail because the biggest bucket of advertising dollars is still in offline brand advertising, e.g. TV commercials, and the big players — Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), Microsoft, et al — are all trying to drag those big brand dollars kicking and screaming online. Although billions of dollars are gleefully poured into offline brand ads with little or no quantifiable ROI measurement — certainly nowhere near what is possible with search advertising (AKA direct marketing) — the expectation is that when those brand advertising dollars shift online, they will suddenly become much more measurable.

The problem is that the “last click” before an online purchase is typically a search or other text ad, which get clicked far more often than banners and other brand ads (including video ads). Even advertising clients who have been die-hard believers in the soft ROI of branding suddenly become obsessive click counters when their ads go online.

So Microsoft is trying to solve this problem with an integrated tracking system that ascribes value to the brand ads that a consumer sees before clicking on a text ad.

The endgame of course is to convince advertisers to run all of their ads through Microsoft’s growing online advertising infrastructure (which they still hope will include Yahoo!), so that they can consolidate all of the available user data — and thus all of the ad dollars.

This article was written by

Scott Karp profile picture
Scott Karp is the co-founder, President & CEO of Publish2, Inc (http://publish2.com/). He is also Editor, Publisher, and the creator of Publishing 2.0 (http://publishing2.com/about), a blog about how technology is transforming media. Folio: magazine named Scott one of the 40 most influential people in publishing (http://www.foliomag.com/viewmedia.asp?prmMID=7549) for 2007. Scott was previously the Director of Digital Strategy for Atlantic Media. Subscribe to Publishing 2.0 (http://publishing2.com/subscribe)

Recommended For You

Comments (3)

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.