a Critique of Advertising Analytics

Ken Segall:

Ace Metrix sells marketing analytics software and competitive comparisons. Their findings generate stories, which at the same time generate PR for Ace. An excellent way to build “the new standard” in analytics.
 But what exactly is the “Ace Score” of which they speak? If you have the stomach, read on.
 Exposing each ad to 500 people, Ace calibrates creative effectiveness by two key measures — Persuasion and Watchability. In their own words:
 “The Persuasion rating is based on the interactivity of six data elements – Desire, Relevance, Likeability, Attention, Information and Change – automatically captured and analyzed for each ad. Watchability measures the engagement that a person has with the ad. Watchability and Persuasion interact to create the Ace Score.”
 This is the kind of language that gives talented people nightmares, because it often gives ammunition to people who aren’t particularly good at judging creative work.
 I get that a lot of companies feel compelled to subject their ads to deep analysis. But — would you like to know how Steve Jobs analyzed an ad? He looked at it and said “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” After it ran, he gauged the reactions to it.
 Ace’s type of analysis is the reason why so many companies, usually the bigger ones, begin to churn out drivel. They get more concerned with ratcheting up their “six data elements” than creating great ads.
 Steve didn’t tolerate that kind of thinking. Apple’s history of great advertising is the validation of his approach.