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Jupiter to Ad Buyers: Wake Up and Check the Data

New York City-based Jupiter Communications said that a new study found that only 22 percent of media buyers make optimal use of clickstream data -- information that is critical to making intelligent, cost-effective marketing decisions.

The potentially rich user data that attracts marketers to online advertising is exactly what those who make media purchasing decisions are ignoring, said the report to Jupiter's Strategic Planning Services (SPS) clients.

"The Internet provides more data for media buyers to digest than any other medium, but the majority of such data goes either unused or misused," said Evan Neufeld, director of Jupiter's Online Advertising Strategies. "The online media buy is all about improving advertising efficiencies. The ability to exploit the vast amount of clickstream data collected is an essential part of online media buyers' basic value proposition."

Buyers need to break free of traditional media-buying patterns -- which have a beginning, middle, and end -- and adopt a more fluid model, the report said.

Jupiter recommends that buyers employ a dual strategy: a continuous efficiency cycle and structured testing. A continuous efficiency cycle involves constant optimization, where ad units, media, and deal structures are perpetually evolving to better meet campaign goals. Structured testing provides a methodical, multitiered approach to finding the best strategy, the best messaging, the best offers, the best pages, or other components.

"It's not simply a matter of looking at the data, but of measuring the right thing," said Neufeld. "For example, click rate is often an inaccurate predictor of conversion and buyers must base their optimization on metrics such as conversion rate, cost-per-customer, and lifetime value."

"Click rate, in many cases, is a poor indicator of brand impact. However, our research shows that 50 percent of buyers said they used click-through as a metric for measuring brand impact."

More than 56 percent of media buyers say they feel overwhelmed by the amount of data they must analyze; only 11 percent of respondents said they feel the quality of the data they receive is highly accurate. "No one said this would be easy," Neufeld concluded.