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Yahoo Offers Look at Offline Effect of Online Spend

Advertisers constantly seek ways to validate their online marketing spend and compare online campaigns with offline performance. So, search engine marketers welcomed Yahoo's launch Friday of a service to evaluate the offline sales impact of online marketing programs.

Yahoo is working with Marketing Management Analytics Inc., Wilton, CT, to offer its advertisers MMA's offline and online analysis combined with data from Yahoo showing users' exposure to online graphical and search advertising — for a fee.

“In many ways, online marketing can be more accountable than many offline marketing tactics, but there is still a real need to understand the total sales impact of online and offline programs on a common ROI basis,” said John Nardone, chief client officer at MMA.

Determining online-versus-offline ROI also helps marketers validate their online spend, Nardone said.

“For so many of our clients, they have shifted from spending 3 to 4 percent of their budgets on digital to spending 15 to 18 percent,” he said. “The level of accountability required and the senior management questions about [online spend] … are much more intense.”

MMA and Yahoo executives would not reveal the price for the service. But Ed See, MMA chief operations officer, said, “The partnership with Yahoo brings this in at a very affordable price point for clients. Clients won't be able to find it on the open market at that price.”

Aaron Shear, chief technology officer at SEO Inc., Carlsbad, CA, said his clients likely would use the service, especially some catalogers.

“They have the standard campaigns with mailers and catalogs to send out,” he said, “so it is important for them to understand [how they are performing].”

“Especially offline traffic, the more we get to understand traffic is great. We're definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes,” said Tim Kauffold, director of business development at OneUpWeb, Lake Leelanau, MI.

“We welcome the ability to have more analysis of ads. Anything that draws to the effectiveness of interactive advertising should be a benefit to anyone in the space,” said Noah Elkin, director of industry relations at iCrossing, New York.

The announcement reflects the recognition of search as a growing medium, and how it interacts with other forms of advertising, Elkin said. Still, search marketers view Yahoo's offering as a response to Google's recent offering of free Web analytics — Google Analytics — for its advertisers. And they recognize that Yahoo can use the information itself to see which advertising methods are effective for its clients.

“This information is definitely very valuable to them, especially now that their revenues are doing so well,” Shear said.

“It seems very much a reaction to the Google offering,” Kauffold added.

However, See said MMA offers a different service than Web analytics, focusing instead on offline marketing and how that performs in the overall portfolio spend. The company uses an “econometric” model to determine how all the various online tactics perform, relative to offline, he said.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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