The Marketing Site – 3 September 2013

Relying on online AVE for strategic business decision-making is always going to mean making decisions based on a fatally flawed and ineffective measure… So what now?

For the first time in South Africa, representatives from a broad spectrum of industries have gathered together to take ownership of this controversial measure. For years, this metric has generated questions around the absence of a consistent calculation and a lack of industry standard.

Advertising, PR, marketing agencies, clients, industry bodies, online monitoring providers and media houses, amongst others, recently engaged in rigorous debates where participants’ gloves came off and exponentially disparate perspectives were revealed.

Lines were drawn in accordance with each party’s opinions, experiences, needs and objectives. It was revealed that no-one was resistant to change, but the challenge presented (among others) was that of finding a reliable alternative that wouldn’t present the same problems in a few years’ time.

Out of the richness of these debates and discussions arose 2 key standpoints. The first argued that the use of AVE needs to stop with immediate effect; that there is no place for AVE now or in the future, especially in the online measurement arena. Participants discussed the need for a big call to all stakeholders to take responsibility for communication and education in the industry to achieve this end.

The second standpoint reasoned that a monetary measure of return was needed for justifying future marketing budgets and plans. Additionally, such a measure is required for making effectiveness (ROI) comprehensible to all, not just those knowledgeable about the ins and outs of marketing campaigns. The form that this measure would take raised heated and contentious debate.

Despite the multitude of views expressed, and questions raised, the one thing that participants could agree on was that, as Oresti Patricios (CEO, Ornico) puts it, “defining clear measurement goals for any communication, including social media, is key”.

So what now? Can we abandon AVE? Is there place for a new industry-wide metric? What will the implications be? Will this revolutionise the industry?

Now is the time for you to get involved, to contribute your knowledgeable and experienced opinion, and to participate in shaping a responsible and credible future for this industry.