As advertisers begin to shift dollars to digital communication networks ("DCN"), issues concerning ad effectiveness and pricing arise. To address this, some DCN operators are advocating that traditional media metrics be applied. The rationale for this position is that such measures are well established, and that rates currently exist for comparing media. Thus, it is presumed, advertisers will be more inclined to purchase time on a DCN due to familiarity of metrics and ready comparisons. But this one-size fits-all approach fails to consider that different DCN networks should be evaluated differently.
Some DCNs look more like out-of-home mediums then others. For example, digital signs in a bus or at an airport are clearly out-of-home, and should be so measured. But in-store signage is a different, more consumer segment driven medium. When considering a DCNs impact inside a store, bank or certain other retail outlets, better measurement models are available. And applying old school media metrics to all digital communication networks, regardless of place, is an application of an inefficient measurement model to a new medium whose results can, in certain applications, be better quantified.
Traditional measures of media effectiveness have overlooked the most important person in the process: the consumer. This is because such metrics are focused on the media's reach or spread among consumers (distribution and exposure) to an ad. But when considering an in-store network, a more relevant measure is one that looks beyond media reach to consider the consumer's response to an ad. After all, is not the purpose of marketing ultimately to influence consumer behavior? And would not a superior measurement methodology seek to measure not only awareness, but consumer reaction?
DCNs are unique because of their ability to reach consumers instantly in-store. In addition, their ability to reach specific segments of consumers in specific parts of a store enables the network operator to increase message relevance and impact consumer response. Thus, consumer responsiveness, which is their willingness to receive a message and their response thereto, is a superior way to understand a DCN delivered ads effectiveness. Therefore, when considering in-store networks, metrics that incorporate consumer impact are more relevant than just awareness.
In-store delivered ads will also need to be semi-customized to increase relevance and this, in general, runs counter to the large DCN operators desire to sell large amounts of ads to the brands based on reach. While generating ad revenue is understandable, applying out-of-date metrics to in-store DCN delivered messages undercuts the media's benefits, and fails to consider the ability to mass customize content.