Half Off-Target

A ClickZ column today by David Cohen of the Universal McCann Interactive advertising agency tells how far off the target demographic many media Web sites ad campaigns hit. For examples:

“One amazing thing we routinely find is the relatively low target composition of some of the most targeted Web properties. Though it’s true syndicated research isn’t granular enough to provide demographic breakdowns of all channels and subchannels of a particular site, according to comScore Media Metrix in July 2003 only 65.4 percent of iVillage’s audience was female; 21.7 percent of TeenPeople.com’s was 12-17 (if you add 18-24 year olds, you only get 38 percent 12-24); 59.4 percent of ESPN.com’s was male; and only 49.2 percent of Forbes.com’s were users with a household income of $75,000-plus.

“After doing these types of analyses for many years, I can safely say the most targeted Web properties, demographically speaking, will only deliver 50-60 percent composition of your target. Right off the bat (before applying our formula), 40-50 percent of your impressions are wasted inasmuch as they don’t reach the intended target.”

… “This is a serious problem directly related to the above issue. Fact is, in three separate instances in which we compared the two, the reach and frequency of a campaign that entered into a syndicated research tool differed from actual DoubleClick delivery data from -81 to 90 percent. I’m no statistician, but that’s an unacceptable fluctuation.