Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Digital Dashboard: Does It or Will it Exist?

Lots of attention has been paid over the years to whether an agency or a client can build a true digital dashboard; one that manages and reports on all aspects of their marketing efforts. The offline world has been resistant to this effort simply because the media formats they work with are not viable for this type of open accountability. Print, Outdoor and Radio are pretty much impossible to track in this manner, and even though TV could be tracked with a dashboard, the industry hasn’t been interested because of the impact it would have on revenue and profit margins (more accountability means more changes, more intensive work to implement, etc.). All that being said, online is where a digital dashboard should make sense, so why isn’t it live yet?

There are a few companies trying to build these for agencies; Connexion A and Blackfoot Interactive are two that come to mind. Some of the larger agencies have been trying to build it themselves, but why is it so hard? Well… it’s easy to say, but not so easy to follow. There are too many data points that need to be tracked; ad side as well as site side. There is territorialism amongst agencies as well, so if you have one agency handling your search and another handling your display, it can be difficult to get them to work together on your dashboard implementation. Beyond those two areas, I really cannot understand why it's so hard! It’s not that we want a single tool to do everything, we simply want one location to visit that can allow me to see what’s happening across all options; search, network display, general ads on targeted sites, ad exchanges and promotional opportunities that are live.

Maybe the digital dashboard is our white whale? Call me Ismael, but I imagine it has to happen, right?

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