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Online, but still opaque

The reinvention of advertising has led advertisers to market to their preferred audience and measure engagement and conversion. The use of paid ads has meant that advertisers are able to direct their ads towards a specific target. Through the development of platforms like Google and Facebook, this has been made possible. The flexibility to view content when you want (streaming at your convenience) and where you want (watch your favourite shows on the commute to work) has pushed online ahead of broadcast TV. Online ad spending is following - both the audience and a new promise to advertisers. 

Traditional broadcast media advertising is famously difficult to evaluate - the old saw of 'the good news is half of your advertising is working really well, the bad news is that we don't know which half' is illustrative. Modern online platforms appear to offer much more targeted control - and the promise that you will only pay for success. But online platforms suffer from a different challenge, as the article below points out:  

"It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download) from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading)."

In a data-driven world, it is increasingly important to know what the story emerging from the numbers really is.

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