Ad Targeting and Measurement: The High Cost of Waiting for Perfection

The following post was recently published by Martech Advisor.

Some Marketers and agencies see it, some don't. Most see the advanced possibilities available today for more precise ad targeting and measurement, even with the imperfections inherent in developing technology. They see the vast improvements over the past, antiquated tools, and are embracing the words of Confucius: Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. Sadly, and surprisingly often, I find myself across the table from marketers or agencies who don't realize that "perfection is the enemy of progress," to quote Winston Churchill.

Just the other day, for example, I was explaining to a brand how they could target their competitor's customers, focusing on those who are presently spending $200 monthly, and then filter further by excluding their own loyal customers, and then measure the actual incremental sales lift generated comparing between those exposed to just mobile ads vs. those exposed to just desktop ads vs. those exposed to just addressable TV ads, etc. Amazing stuff, not possible 10 years ago.

But a twenty-minute marketing team debate arose regarding the impossibility of a perfect test. They couldn't hypothesize a single method that would ensure a pure and perfect read of results, untainted by errant exposure to other ads or contaminated by other factors.

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