I've spent the past week in New York and would be remiss if I didn't talk about the noise in the city. I'm not talking about the cars (although the liberal use of the car horn is a bit much), I'm talking about the ads. Specifically the Times Square and Midtown area. The subway cars, buildings, you name it - have ads on them. How many do I remember?
I can't help but notice Diddy's 200 foot ad, mostly because it's usually facing me from my hotel window. Other than that it's just a bunch of noise. Are they moving the needle? Well, the ads change and products come and go - so I'm guessing that the majority of them do not.
Forbes put out their Top 25 web celebs on Tuesday with Jessica Lee Rose, aka LonelyGirl15, topping the list. I'd like everyone to keep in mind that success is relative, my web friends. I took a quick survey of a sampling of my "network" - Mom & Dad, cousins, friends, etc. - and aside from Matt Drudge, none of their top 25 were recognized. These aren't people who don't use the internet on a daily basis, folks.
Comparing "famous" web people with celebrities and athletes? I mean, really? (Thanks SNL) This is infancy 2.0, toddler stage at best for the internet - let's not get carried away with our reach, Mmmmmkay? People are jumping on the "let's create a new metric" bandwagon before the current standards are even verifiable. Sounds like someone trying to move the target to me. Want a metric that matter? Conversion. Measuring unique visitors to a web site is great but without action it's just eating up the company's bandwidth.
This leads me to a larger issue - moving the needle. There are tons of marketing and PR campaigns running concurrently, which means there is a ton of noise. I've read case studies on "winning" programs, nominations, etc., and when I ask people in the target audience if they'd heard of it the answer is typically "no". So let's call this what it really is -- CYA. Aside from the major stinkers and blunders, agencies are going to report every campaign is a success.
Want to know if your campaign worked? Ask someone in the target if they a) heard of it and b) took action as a result of it -- because without really moving the needle it's really just noise.