Engagement and measurement emphasized at PMA summit

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Measurement and engagement were key themes that resonated through the Promotion Marketing Association's 2008 Digital Marketing Summit today. The conference, titled Digital Marketing Fully Integrated, focused on growing digital channels — social networking, destination Web sites, online video, widgets and mobile marketing — and how these channels can be used to engage consumers.

In a session called Digital Integration: Going Global with a Big Idea, Kim Lloyd, senior director of global marketing at McDonald's, and Julie Channing, director of interactive marketing at AKQA, discussed an integrated digital campaign that the agency and fast-food restaurant did in conjunction with the Olympics. The campaign consisted of an online gaming environment called “the Lost Ring,” an alternate reality game. Though it did not include McDonald's signature Golden Arches, the campaign still saw 2.6 million participants in 100 countries.

“Even though the experience itself was not branded, McDonald's was still at the center of the conversation when we looked at the online response,” said Channing. “The engagement level was very high. People played regularly for six months. Even though it is difficult to measure, the success is undeniable.”

While engagement can be difficult to measure, Jackie Stone, VP and group director of promotions at Digitas, pointed out the importance of measurement and how digital is a good format when it comes to analytics, in the Best of Class: Creative and Strategic Integration with Digital session.

“As a marketer, [digital] is an important tool,” she said. “What it does is allow digital measurement, and allows you to change during the course of your campaign.”

Digitas incorporates its stats into campaigns for its clients, including Delta. Digitas targets all Delta digital ads based on a customer's past flights. For example, if a customer flies Delta from New York to Los Angeles often, then he or she will be served ads for offers on this flight service.

“The more targeted you can get and the more relevant you can get, the more ROI you will have,” Stone said.

Being in the right place to engage prospects is an important aspect of targeting, said Kwasi Asare, head of new media at Bad Boy Entertainment, who sat on a panel titled Social Networking, Social Media, Widgets, Podcasting, User-Generated Content… Where do they fit and how do you use them? For his artists, a Facebook presence is becoming more important than one on MySpace.

“People are using Facebook more as a social networking tool, whereas MySpace is becoming like the billboard you see driving down the highway,” he said.

But no matter where an advertiser runs a campaign, it is all about good content, said Marshall Sponder, senior social networks analyst at Monster.com and the Web Analytics Association.

“If you want consumers to respond, you have to provide engaging content,” he said.

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