Big Brother (or at least TargetSpot) Begins Tracking Responses To Audio Ads


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Does advertising work? It’s an age-old question with an elusive answer. Today, TargetSpot, an internet radio advertising network, took a step toward proving its effectiveness by announcing a new system of analytics that will track the performance of audio ads online by monitoring the anticipated influx of website traffic after an internet radio spot airs. But is it accurate? And more importantly, what if the ads don’t do anything?

According to the company’s press release, TargetSpot analytics aim to enhance “accountability in advertising” by following the activity online at “advertiser-designated destination,” or company website, after airing an ad. This is all done through simple web coding:

An advertiser simply adds a small snippet of code to their destination website that corresponds to their TargetSpot ad campaign. TargetSpot Analytics can then provide information on each visit to the advertiser’s website, even if the consumer arrives there later through a search engine or by typing the website directly into the browser.

The ability to track the performance of ads that run online is “a key reason” for growth and in explaining why “other forms of advertising are in decline,” according to venture capitalist Fred Wilson, as he writes on his blog in a post about TargetSpot. The tallying of “clicks” on internet ads, thus far, has excluded audio and video though, because there is no actual clicking involved and this is the problem TargetSpot attempts to rectify.

At the end of Mad Men‘s second season, leading ad man Don Draper snaps, “I don’t sell advertising, I sell products,” at a coworker questioning his methods. Luckily for Don, he never worked with online advertising, because then his boastful claim could be quantified and possibly disproved. With print, and later television, ad men could contend that product sales depended on far more than just a successful campaign. But as the internet becomes the advertising destination du jour (and beyond?), we can track how potential customers respond to various appeals at their consumer psyches, and analytics like those of TargetSpot will be kingmakers — making and breaking advertising methods, as journalists and publishers observe from the edges of their seats.


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