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Trying to build a brand marketing campaign without traditional target reach and Gross Rating Points (GRP) estimates is like trying to diet without the concept of calories. The analogy of dieting and advertising works on many levels. Both are multivariate and complex in nature. Dieting also has explicit and measurable outcomes – weight loss or gain, whereas marketing has sales. Advances in dieting have deconstructed the powerful role of good and bad carbohydrates, fats and proteins and importance of different metabolisms. However, amidst all of this sophistication and breakthrough science, there remains a fundamental metric that plays a crucial role – the calorie.
Without the calorie, diets are about as useful as the American Food Pyramid. Without the humble calorie, dieters won’t know how many Doritos they can eat or the difference between a soda and a milkshake. For Marketing, that fundamental metric is Reach. There is good reach, and ineffective reach, engaging reach and passive reach. But without the basic understanding of how a campaign reached the target audience, brand advertisers simply won’t know what they are buying online. Before I delve into the arguments, for and against traditional media metrics for the Web, let’s start by taking a look at who has the dollars and where those dollars are being spent.
Direct Response advertisers have flocked to the web with promises of measurable ROI, driven by granular metrics and actionable insights into exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Search makes up the bulk of the spending, followed by campaigns across the many ad networks that offer various sorts of pay-for-performance advertising (e.g. cost-per-click or cost-per-sale). Brand advertising budgets represent about two-thirds of a $186 Billion advertising market. Yet, only 5% of their overall marketing budgets are spent on the Web.
With the proliferation of broadband penetration, and growing ubiquity of the Web at work and at home, the Internet garners one third of today’s consumer share of media consumption. With all of the data available on the web and ample opportunity to engage consumers on the web, why aren’t the biggest advertisers in the world like Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble, General Motors and Target spending more than a tiny fraction of their massive budgets online?
The Argument Against
I’ve been on many panels over the years debating whether the industry should embrace traditional media metrics like Reach, Frequency and GRP. Arguments that we should eschew traditional media metrics for the web usually come in three flavors:
· Arrogance: This camp vehemently believes “we’re better than traditional”. This argument is based on the belief that metrics like target reach and frequency are obsolete metrics that are too abstract from the engagement and ROI that advertisers are really after. These are often folks who make a living from selling Online as a direct response channel. They think “branding” is mostly mythology and if you can’t tie an ad to a sale, it’s a waste of time.
· Ignorance: “I don’t know what a GRP is [and thus I don’t like it]”. You would be shocked at how few online marketers, do not know how GRPs are calculated nor how they are used. Most of folks in digital don’t have traditional media experience where GRPs are the currency. Many digital agency experts similarly lack traditional media expertise. This is also why you find publishers brag about how concentrated their sites are for a given demographic, with no mention of how the target demo across the entire U.S. will be reached by your campaign.
· Fear: “I’m scared Online GRPs are more expensive than Television GRPs”. This is the most rational argument of the three, but also very shortsighted. If Online GRPs look unfavorable compared to Offline GRPs (which in some cases it will), then our media is probably over-priced and that’s something we need to address not ignore.
Getting in the Door
Digital folks snicker when they hear advertisers make statements like “TV works”. Turns out, TV does work and there is plenty of quantitative proof that TV advertising drives sales. As much as digital marketers love to carry the ROI torch, what they don’t realize is that traditional marketers live and die by the same sword. They just do it in a different and arguably better way. The science of Media Mix Modeling (a.k.a. Econometric Modeling) has been around for decades and is the gold standard for analysis of how marketing investments impact SALES. The inputs into these models are reach, frequency and GRPs across different marketing channels. Those variables are used to predict sales (typically through regression modeling). These are sophisticated models that take into account seasonality, macro-economic variables, pricing, competitive spend levels, geography, and typically leverage several years of advertising and sales data. Every major advertising agency has a division (usually very profitable one at that!) dedicated to this research. And the results are channel mix recommendations for the largest advertising budgets in the world (e.g. P&G, Unilever, Coca Cola, Microsoft, etc.). Guess who’s left out in the cold from all this great ROI analysis, holding a bag of click-through rates that barely register above zero?
The debate comes down to whether you want to beat them or join them. Naysayers lament that media mix modeling doesn’t provide real-time reporting, and is based on small samples of panel data. Both are fair and blatant issues, but they miss the point. Let’s not forget that great brands aren’t built in a day, and the vast majority of sales still occur in an actual store.
Patty Wakeling, an industry veteran who leads Unilever’s Global Media Insights Group, recently reminded me that in today’s retail environment, the choice between the branded versus the generic option are separated by less than an inch on the shelf. It was a sobering reminder of the power of branding, and why so many companies are willing to spend so much to build their brand equity.
The good news is that we can join the party, and even better, we can be the life of the party. We know the web can deliver scalable and impactful reach – we just haven’t proven it yet in a standardized and easily repeatable way. That’s coming, and the first of a lot more research from the Institute – The Planner’s Digital Dilemma - speaks to how.
But before we get there, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and let go of our cultural hang-ups and short-sighted fears. Every channel has its strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day, marketers want digital marketing to work in concert with their offline advertising. And success has to be total sales, not just online sales. Any hope to unlock the two-thirds of dollars spent on traditional media needs to start with the fundamental metrics of all brand advertising: Reach, Frequency and Gross Rating Points.
If it makes you feel any better, just remember, it’s the start – not the end-game. Everything else we do still matters and creates opportunities that will revolutionize advertising. But let’s start with the basics so we can at least get through the door. I have a feeling we’ll find an empty seat at the table…
The Conversation Continues Here.....
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Excellent argument, Young. You've hit the proverbial nail right on the head. Well done!
I wouldn't say it's arrogance to say that direct response metrics are superior. I'd say it's cold, accounting driven logic that make successful businesses. IMHO, what is arrogant is saying that we can't use direct response ads for our products, like consumer packaged goods (CPGs). I just read a case on Clayton Makepeace's site (MakepeaceTotalPackage.com) where direct response copy was used to sell soda - as far back as in 1923. It was a blockbuster promotion.
Sharp, concise thinking: thank you Young for tackling a very relevant issue. All effective advertising and media planning starts and ends with a consumer/customer perspective, and having comparable reach & frequency data would really help marketers draw-up true 360 degree communications plans across both online and offline channels. In my experience carrying out market mix modelling for clients worldwide, marketers are looking more and more to determine the halo sales effects of every communications channel on each other: whether offline (TV) on online or vice versa. We must all recognise that any given marketing channel is both a response driver and response mechanic, and it is vital to move beyond considering online as purely a direct response medium. Just as it is important to measure what halo effect a given brand's TV activity has on web click-throughs. The best brands understand that it is the synergy between their media mix that drives overall revenue: value through both short and onger-term brand effects AND direct (immediate) response. So, I like what you are proposing but I would go further: it's not GRPs that are important but adopting a 'reach & frequency mindset' when planning media: asking how a marketer's overall communication strategy interacts with a customer - not just counting direct or GRP impacts, but really considering the reach and frequency of all contacts both offline and online - and their subsequent sales impacts.
RE: "Patty Wakeling, an industry veteran who leads Unilever’s Global Media Insights Group, recently reminded me that in today’s retail environment, the choice between the branded versus the generic option are separated by less than an inch on the shelf. It was a sobering reminder of the power of branding, and why so many companies are willing to spend so much to build their brand equity."
But in the case of Whole Foods' own store brand, 365, many people perceive it to be better than branded options (or at least equivalent). So they tend to choose to buy the 365 product instead. In other cases, what used to be brand equity/value is now perceived as an undesirable premium. Take another example -- the rise and popularity of Trader Joe's where 80% of the products sold are house brands. Consumers care about the product and its quality and value; consumers no longer care (as much) about the brand that is slapped on the package if the contents inside suck.
@Gab … I’m not suggesting there you can’t sell soda through direct marketing. There’s a very powerful role of DR for the CPG companies, namely couponing (including in-store), and the weekly inserts from groceries that are either mailed or come along with the paper. Direct Response is wonderful, powerful, and hugely important in the marketing mix. But if recommend to Coca-Cola or Pepsi that they should stop bothering with TV advertising and spend it instead on DR tactics on and off the web, they’d quickly show you the door. My point here is that the different media channels work together. The reason why a consumer might bother clipping a coupon in the first place is worth deconstructing. Is it pure need? Or did the many branding ads (Print, Radio, Outdoor, or a friend’s word of mouth, etc.) reassure them that the product was worth their time. It’s one of the reasons why click-throughs on Search ads increase when there are large TV campaigns running. My point here is that it’s not an all or nothing thing. That’s why this issue is so complex. Thank you for your comments.
@Nigel … I couldn’t agree with you more. And yes, understanding the overall communication strategy (and its impact on sales) is ultimately where we want to get to. However, that kind of insight comes by having a seat at the table, which we don’t have yet. I’ve worked with media mix modelers and have seen their frustration on our inability to provide the basic metrics they need to add the Web into their models. It’s like the Tower of Babble has come down and we speak totally different languages. And given the Web represents such a small share of brand budgets, the outcome is often throwing their hands in the air and not bothering to add digital to their analysis at all! If we have any hope to at least be part of the conversation, let alone understand the entire brand’s communication strategy, the bare minimum is to start speaking their language. Thank you for your comments.
@Augustine… I grew up in a Costco devoted family, so understand and appreciate the power of store brands. There is a real world experiment going on every day that quantifies how valuable brands are. Think of generic Acetaminophen versus Tylenol, same exact stuff, right next to each other on the shelf, at the exact same price. You think sales would be 50/50? No way. Tylenol would crush the generic. Add a penny to Tylenol’s price and you’d see the same result. And yes, at some price point the premium price begins to affect sales. Every major brand knows exactly that this yield curve looks like, and will fight like hell to protect it because it represents millions of dollars of profit. How the heck does Coca-Cola get away with selling sparkling sugar water with some dye for $0.50 a can?! Same reason my wife would rather drink water if a restaurant only has Pepsi, and the same reason why Coca Cola is second only to Barack Obama in number of friends on Facebook. I wouldn’t call that an “undesirable premium”. Also let me remind you, store brands are still brands, and they themselves command a premium over the bare-bones generics. The confidence you have in the Wholefoods brand is the same confidence others have in Clorox, Budweiser, Sony, Mattel, Starbucks, and countless other brands. Thank you for your comments.
Young, thanks for a great blog post -- it will be really interesting to see what happens...
There's no doubt that the CPG/big marketers will have to look more seriously at online media as a more significant part of their media planning -- it's where the eyeballs are. We, as an online media industry, need to work with these firms and their agencies to provide the path that allows them to see how online can more effectively work for them vs. their existing options. And, frankly, we've done a poor job of that so far.
As you point out, to say that brand marketers don't use metrics and analysis to judge their media spend effectiveness is naive. I know a lot of brand management and agency execs, and the analysis they do (as you rightly point out) is significant and very much tied/compared to financial business results.
I do think that the "answer" will end up being a combination of existing offline and online media metric analysis that leverages the best of both -- reach/frequency/GRP from offline with measurable engagement metrics from online. All with a healthy dose of a better audit/confirmation trail on where a brand marketer's online ads are actually showing up.
@Young... thanks for your thoughtful comments and reply. I do the same in a restaurant -- if they didn't offer Coke, and only offered Pepsi, I'd rather drink water. In addition, since I grew up in Dallas, TX, I grew up with Dr Pepper and I look for it every chance I get. But they have poor distribution here in NYC so I have to "settle" for Coke if there isn't Dr Pepper. But I choose the Dr Pepper brand not because of its cool advertising, I choose it because it actually tastes different and to my palate better than Coke (Pepsi is not in the consideration set).
I also completely agree with you regarding medicines and drugs. I recall vividly standing in a Walgreens, comparing ingredients between Walgreens store branded acetaminophen and Tylenol (they both even had similar red packaging) and deciding to buy the Tylenol, despite the fact that it was more expensive and had exactly the same ingredients and dosage. I don't actually recall any Tylenol advertising; in fact what I do recall about Tylenol was the 1982 cyanide poisoning crisis.
I believe this (my choosing Tylenol vs Walgreens brand) is due to consumers' choosing what is known, familiar, and therefore "safe." They choose what they know because they don't have to think about it. When something new comes along, they have to think about it and calculate the value - cost equation again. The simpler thing to do (or perhaps the lazier way out) is to just buy what they bought before (or what they grew up with). Similar phenomena happen with cars, bank accounts, etc.
The "undesirable premium" I mentioned earlier can be mapped to the portion of the yield curve you mentioned that is ABOVE the maximum price point at which consumers would be willing to still buy the branded product versus the generic. Anything above this price point is undesirable and consumers won't opt to pay for the branded version. This point along the yield curve varies between products -- the example above implies this point is higher for medicines/drugs than, say, granola -- i.e. I would be willing to pay more for Tylenol, up to a point; but I find the Whole Foods granola better (and cheaper) than Bear Naked branded organic granola.
And finally, if given the choice of Coca Cola and a no-name brown cola, I'd probably choose Coca Cola because I am simply not sure what the brown cola would taste like -- I choose the familiar over the unfamiliar (and pricing is not under consideration). And driving down the highway during a roadtrip, I choose McDonalds over a no name fast food restaurant by the roadside. The brand of Coca Cola derives from its consistent delivery on the product itself (I know when I open the can it will taste exactly like the thousand previous times; I know McDonald's big mac will taste exactly like the X number of previous times).
Perhaps we can say "branding" -- the act of making claims and hoping to generate positive feelings -- would not be successful if the product or service didn't consistently live up to the claims. Apple never claimed in its ads that it has awesome design and was easy to use. But because their products consistently delivered on these 2 promises, their brand was earned in the consumers' minds -- and this could be done with no advertising at all.
What do you think?
This is spot on.
My company works with many big product brands such as Coca-cola, Kellogg's, Alberto-Culver and the topic of ROI between the web, TV Radio, Print and In-store is a hot debate.
Anyone who truly understands what TV and radio "reach and frequency" numbers are based on, would never advocate their use for digital. It's the digital-only folks who are crying for this type of non-measurement because they think that will bring them on a level with broadcast and other traditional media. And then, riches will follow.
Trying to use these antiquated forms of measurement for a medium that provides much richer and more meaningful metrics is an idea based on sheer ignorance. Nearly all agencies use some form of a standard online service that will generate "reach and frequency" for broadcast and print. The reason I put "reach and frequency" in quotes is that the broadcast black box estimates are based on data that is at least 10+ years old.
Perhaps you would be better served by promoting the move to accurate reach and frequency data for traditional media before you tackle online. Broadcast delivery will need to be based on the exact dates and times the commercials ran. Then you will have to get print vehicles to measure the exact issue readership for each publication. You will need this accurate data to compare with online delivery numbers because these metrics are far more precise than anything you find for traditional media.
So after you have fixed the way we measure traditional then you can turn to the online delivery challenge.
Is this worth all the work? Not a chance.
Young, I'm a 35 year veteran of advertising and media. It's always been a challenge to get beyond the guesswork of self-reporting, diary methodology with traditional media measuring companies. There has never been a good, exact way to calculate anything. It's always been about estimating, really. I have a client that has a new technology using audio fingerprinting to capture real-time usage of media across the spectrum, three screens and beyond. It's universal, accurate and precise. It would be fun to have a conversation with you about it.
Fantastic ! I agree that creating a path to understanding via the currency of accepted media metrics will lead to an influx of new ad dollars from current non-advertisers in the digital realm. You have an excellent understanding of the barriers many potential web advertisers face in determining a true ROI - one that measures on a comparable playing field with the entire media buy.
The many options of traditional media are not measured the same way...radio touts cume...a ridiculous metric, TV in many markets uses antiquated paper diaries for a full week ( would you complete one?)..and on and on. Young is right on the mark. To think that the exposure of a brand online is less valuable online than offline is ludicrous. I do think there's an inheirent fear of leaving old media due to CMO ignorance of what online metrics can provide. The more we can educate our advertisers and agencies the more engaged they will be in considering and using new media to build brand awareness and sales.
Young, great, well-thought out post. I agree that we must work to develop a standard currency to measure the value of each channel. However, I would argue that currency is more likely be a digital metric such as unique impressions rather than a traditional metric such as GRPs. To begin with, the GRP is a somewhat antiquated metric that is inherently less precise, thus less powerful, than digital metrics. Moreover, traditional channels are becoming digitized, providing access to these more precise digital metrics for traditional channels. With access to these stronger metrics for traditional channels it seems irrational to assume marketers would still choose to standardize their measurement on less precise, antiquated measures such as GRPs.
As a side note, to your point on the incorporation of digital mediums into media mix models, the debate is still out on how to actually create an accurate model. In a traditional media model, every consumer has an equal chance to view each piece of media run in their market (theoretically). However, because of digital mediums' ability to change based on the individual, individual consumers are exposed to more or less ads depending on their exposure and response to an ad in the first place. For example, say I visit WebMD and view some articles on the Flu and see 2 ads for Tamiflu. I then leave WebMD but visit other properties in WebMD's network where I am then retargeted with 3 more ads for Tamiflu because I've indicated interest in the subject of the Flu. Similarly, if I do a search for BWM on Google in the morning and then check my GMail in the afternoon, I will likely be shown more ads for BMW. This interactive effect causes traditional econometric modeling approaches to break down, often grossly overweighting or underweighting the true impact of digital channels on the outcome.
Is the Internet an effective branding medium is a great question and if so, to what degree and how?
To put the experience and bias out there - My background is search & a little online display media. I have no traditional experience.
Traditional brand advertising works and is necessary despite all the hype about the Internet. The question is why does it work and does online advertising work the same way? If it does, then traditional metrics may make sense to apply on the web. If it doesn't (and I don't think it does) then it does not make sense to apply traditional metrics on the web (unless you are a media property, network or an agency looking to develop a metric that will help you sell more media).
In the traditional media world, people are relaxed. They are enjoying a TV show, a movie, leisurely reading a magazine article, driving down the highway glancing at a billboard, enjoying a sporting event and looking up at the big screen showing all the action. Fundamentally, they are in a more relaxed state of mind and not usually trying to accomplish a specific task. I'd venture to say when people are online, they are ALWAYS more or less in search mode when they are surfing the web unless they are playing a game. When a person is in an environment to be exposed to offline media, they are more relaxed and more likely to be receptive to or at least not be trying to block out advertising messages so merely exposing them to adverts can have a substantial effect on the consumer and influence their decision making when they buy products.
When people are online, they are TASK oriented. This is why search CAN work very well. IMHO, branding on the Internet happens ON THE ADVERTISERS WEBSITE, not as a result of seeing search ads. Ads must be relevant to get consumers to visit the website but the brand experience and interaction happens on the website and involves the process of getting to the right information on the website.
I've worked with clients across industries from CPG to home builders, dating, retail and numerous others. Traditional metrics applied to search often results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in click fees being flushed down the toilet. The emphasis is put on clicks and impressions and not on how the consumer engages with the website. If someone is actively looking for something and they don't click on your ad or they click on it and then immediately bail from the site, has the advertiser succeeded because they got a targeted impression or click or have they failed (and maybe even damaged the brand) because they did not deliver what the consumer explicitly stated they were looking for?
On the banner or rich media side, it seems like the jury is still out. From a DR perspective, I haven't yet seen an online media campaign that shows any kind of reasonable return based on click-through sales or other click-through performance metrics. If you look at view-through metrics then they can look like fantastic investments, especially those using lead back or similar technology. I've seen numerous studies that media vendors and networks publish that claim it all works but am still not convinced. Do the ads (when judged on view-through metrics) work because the ad has an influence on behavior or was the consumer already going to take the conversion action regardless of whether or not they were exposed to the ad? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I'd love to see someone do a real media test where 50% of the target audience gets served an ad and 50% is cookied as if they have seen an ad but is not actually served one. Following that, compare the conversion metrics between the two groups stemming from view-through activity and see if those who were actually served the ads instead of just getting cookied as if they had seen one buy more stuff, generate more leads, have higher site engagement or whatever the desired outcome or action is.
Overall, brand advertisers need to stick with their traditional marketing programs and begin to shift online. Search is the first place online media dollars go but a site that supports the search campaign needs to be the first investment before any search campaign will do any good. Unlike traditional media where the ad itself can be rich enough and convey enough information to engage someone, this isn’t the case online IMHO, at least not yet.
Site engagement need to be measured since that is where the real brand experience and interaction happens. The burden of proof is still on the online display media vendors, networks and agencies to show this stuff really works. Traditional metrics DO NOT work with search and if search is primarily evaluated based on traditional metrics then it takes the focus away from providing a top notch experience for the consumer. Traditional metrics MAY work for online display media but IMHO, it still needs to be demonstrated to what extent online display media is a valuable investment since it is not generally something consumers are looking for and online the consumer is often engaged in a specific task which I believe increases the blindness to display ads online.
There are lies, damn lies and statistics and somewhere in there lies the best way to value and measure online media.
As for this:
>>If we have any hope to at least be part of the conversation, let alone understand the entire brand’s communication strategy, the bare minimum is to start speaking their language.
Before to much longer, innovative web savvy marketers will rise through the ranks at big brands & get a seat at the table where they can lead web initiatives and make them successful. If the traditional folks continue to sit there, throw their hands up in the air and not to learn about the differences in traditional and the web, they will be left out in the cold. The pressure may currently be on the web folks to convince the traditional folks that they need to invest more heavily online but if they continue to sit there and say prove it they’ll fall behind and wish they had been more proactive.
It took Google becoming a 138 Billion dollar company for MSFT to start looking seriously at search. The same will happen to companies that are slow and reactive about the web instead of figuring out how it can work NOW.
@Augustine Fou… No argument from me that intrinsic product value is key in fulfilling the Brand promise. And there are many companies who have built amazing brands with very little traditional brand advertising (e.g. Starbucks, Amazon). I’d argue they still care about their brand and do brand advertising, but they’ve found other clever ways to subliminally embed those brands into our psychosis. Think of the Starbucks cup as a mini roving billboard, or how about the white headphones for iPods. And doesn’t it feel like Christmas when that box with the Amazon logo is left on the front porch? They’ve ingeniously turned the product themselves into an advertisement, which give both the user an ego boost, and the observers envy. But make no mistake, a lot of dollars are spent successfully to create these associations, envy, and ego on TV, Print, Radio, etc. And that subliminal influence is finding increased scientific grounding. Check out John Chandler-Pepelnjack’s recent post and anecdote about the Soda Wars. An absolute fascinating account of the role of neurotransmitters on brand equity. When I see the relief on my wife’s face that the restaurant we’ve chosen has Coke, I have no doubt in my mind her brain just release a happy dose of domamine. Thanks for your comment.
@Colleen O’Kane… Let’s not forget, this is not an exercise in “accuracy”. Rather it’s an exercise in “usefulness”. Case in point: if the numbers from Nielsen were complete garbage, then there would be no correlation of GRPs to sales (which is the entire point of econometric modeling). Everyone acknowledges that traditional panel measurement and surveys are fraught with all kinds of challenges, bias and crazy assumptions. But that doesn’t mean, the resulting metrics aren’t useful. In fact they are vital. The entire TV industry (and I’m not just talking about the advertising part) depends on Nielsen ratings. Our relative understanding of what the big shows and channels are create the value perception of which TV shows are worth producing and which ad slots are worth buying/selling. Can we make those metrics better? Absolutely. The digital set-top-box will replace the antiquated panels and diaries being used today. But advertisers aren’t’ going to wait until that day to spend their billions of dollars on TV, nor do we want them to. As for raising the bar, I encourage you and others to read Richard Huff’s latest paper that speaks to how we plan on delivering traditional media metrics for the web, and doing so unprecedented levels of accuracy and reliability. Thanks for your comment.
@Brian McGinty… I disagree that the impression is more precise than the GRP. Impressions are actually part of the GRP equation (GRP = Gross Impressions / Gross Audience… more typical is the Target Rating Point equations… TRP = target impressions / target audience). So in other words, I’d rather have GRPs because they have a denominator (the entire gross or target audience possible), that actually puts important context to the number. Impressions are ad views, with no sense of who they were directed to. Advertisers have a very simple question that we cannot answer: What proportion of their target audience did the campaign reach, and how many times. That is the other way to get to the GRP ([Reach as a Percent] x [Average Frequency] x ). The math is simple, but it’s hard to calculate online, because the impressions we count don’t have demos associated with them. There are solutions now, that we’ll have to embrace as an industry if we want to see the next inflection point of digital marketing dollars from brand advertisers, that everyone is so anxiously awaiting. Thanks for your comment.
@Adam Jewell… You’re right, much of web activity online is task oriented. But there’s plenty of non-task oriented and relaxed time on the Internet. My wife doesn’t subscribe to People Magazine anymore because People.com has more content, and it’s “free”. Sports fans, enthusiasts of all kinds, Facebook, games, daily news, YouTube and Hulu, the list goes on... Also, completing tasks doesn’t mean shut out the brand opportunity. In fact, Kraft may find reaching me while I search for recipes a better branding opportunity than when I’m following the Tour de France. As for your experiment, there are all kinds of studies published about the control/test group response rates. Seek out research from Comscore, the IAB, Yahoo and their CPG work with Nielsen’s Homescan panel. We published a landmark study that showed how sponsored search clickers who were exposed to display ads (from the same advertiser), had an average 22% higher conversion rate than search clickers who were not exposed. Thanks for your comment.