"What hasn't changed is that we are about delivering excellent results for [our] clients."
Advertising age, 11/06/00
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After a career spent in brand management at General Mills and as general manager of ABC Sports, Brian McAndrews jumped to the interactive industry in 1999 convinced that the medium "could actually deliver on what was promised." In 2001, as president and CEO of online media firm Avenue A, he's still sold on the idea. That's an accomplishment of sorts for a man whose company just reported third-quarter revenue of $20.4 million, less than half of what it was for the third quarter a year ago.
Perhaps the optimism is due to signs of stabilization among some Internet advertising companies-third-quarter revenue was also flat compared to the Seattle-based company's second-quarter revenue of $20.6 million.
"The promise of online advertising is every bit as powerful as it ever was, but we're just making more headway and gradually getting there," says Mr. McAndrews, 42.
In order for the industry to get to this point, Mr. McAndrews says, it had to abandon click-through rates as the ultimate gauge of campaign effectiveness. He says, "Click-through rates were not the correct way to measure performance. What really mattered was conversion and the branding effect of advertising."
The Avenue A holding company has been working to exploit better metrics, dividing the company into two units earlier this year: the Avenue A division, which operates as an online media agency, and Atlas DMT, which provides services to companies looking to run targeted online campaigns.
Mr. McAndrews hopes the new Atlas service is one way the industry can make good on one-to-one marketing's promise of completely efficient marketing. Client Best Buy, for example, has used the Web to determine whether a user has previously visited the site, if they've purchased anything and, if not, how far they went before stopping the interaction.
"It's one view of the customer across all media ... If you were going to give a free offer to customers, you don't want to give it to customers who already are using your product," he explains. Mr. McAndrews also sees reason for encouragement in advertisers' increasing understanding of the way the Internet works. Data from third parties that track demographics, as well as ratings data and use data, will help more marketers plunge into the Web in the future, Mr. McAndrews predicts. "You'll be able to actually see how you did," he says. "We think that will help tremendously for traditional agencies and traditional advertisers."