The Internet, and actually all new media using similar technology, is still being sold on the merit that it is measurable. Websites are constantly evaluated on the number of visitors they attract, on line marketing campaigns are build on media plans full of impressions and clicks. Every now and then somebody wonders how much time people spend on a site, but mostly it's collecting e-mail addresses and selling as much as possible.
It's kind of logical that people look for numbers. The efficiency of traditional advertising is being questioned more then ever, and as a consequence budgets are cut. Add to that the fact that many marketeers think that on line marketing is cheaper then traditional media. So a bunch of numbers showing that, even with a small budget, you can present your banner to a large number of surfers and even let them click every now and them, is great input for the next budget round.
But clicks and page views are measurement of the Internet stone age. What really counts is what makes interactive media so unique, namely the possibility to start a conversation with your customer or prospect and then to build an engagement.
Clicks, impressions, views, do they really exist? Google works day and night to get rid of click fraud, e-mail spam seduces us into involuntary impressions and spam blogs make us believe that a site is relevant for a search request we did. The openness of Internet technology makes the web vulnerable for fraud. So you can ask yourself which percentage of the measured clicks and view has to do with an actual intention of the surfer ...
Just image yourself surfing. How conscious do you click on a link? Is that move a conscious choice? No, most of the time is nothing more then a mechanical move, like footsteps in a crowded supermarket while noticing only a fraction of the products on display. 99 percent of have no more value then the 1 millimeter move of your index finger. A click only becomes relevant when your brain wakes up and consciously interacts with what you see. And that is what interactive marketing is about.
So let's focus on what really works on line: the interaction with the consumer, the conversation between brand and customer and finally building a relationship. A good start is realizing the relativity of clicks and impressions. And from then on it's just hard work. Check how much time people spend on your site, listen to the on line buzz and learn from it, start a conversation with your customers and prospects. And do it with talent, gut feel and creativity.