Facebook and Omniture ink analytics and ad serving deal– problems lie ahead

Read the MediaPost article, hot off the presses.  Omniture (now owned by Adobe) will have the ability to buy ads via SearchCenter, their PPC management tool, by the end of 2010.  That’s over 3 years behind Content Factory– an eternity in web advertising, so it will be interesting to see what product is in place by then.  I will want to know if Omniture has plans yet to integrate Facebook into SearchCenter such that it’s treated like another search engine or whether it operates orthogonally (since social media plays in the AID of the AIDA funnel).

It will be interesting to see how large agencies and brands adapt, given their penchant for wanting simple interfaces to manage campaigns, as opposed to performance marketing on Facebook.  The world of buying Facebook ads is significantly different than traditional keyword advertising– much closer to the content network, but still its own animal.

There is also the issue of attribution since social media adds additional touchpoints earlier in the funnel.  On Facebook, people find out about brands and develop trust from seeing what their friends like and endorse.  To be able to now see those social touchpoints later convert on Google search will pose an interesting challenge to advertisers that have to now allocate a budget between social and search.  This doesn’t even yet address the issue of brand bidding, which also messes up the perfect dream of automated bidding– to be able to hide behind the black box math that is actually just last-click attribution.

Even when Facebook does introduce its own conversion pixel later this year, it doesn’t address the issue of how to allocate credit when a user has multiple clicks in their clickstream prior to a conversion.  Neither the last click nor the first click nor the average click is the correct answer.

I believe in a multi-channel environment, the advertisers who rely upon having smart in-house strategists will win over those who decide to shell out cash to buy the most expensive software.  Online marketing, and marketing in general, is increasingly becoming multi-channel, which will scare some into hiding behind software while motivating others into arbitraging out the profits amidst the confusion.

We’ve been at this for 3 years with brands large and small, having seen and experienced the problems that the big players have yet to even encounter.  What do you think will happen?

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