Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Becoming Less Impressed With Impressions

I read a quote today from Augustine Fou - senior VP-digital lead at MRM Worldwide.

"We're coming from a world where a site that was attractive had to show it's getting tens or hundreds of millions of impressions. But advertisers are starting to realize simply having hundreds of millions of impressions isn't that important if they're getting 0.002% click-through rates."

And, so it begins. The movement from surface data to beneath the surface data.

Impressions tell us how many people had the chance to be exposed to a commercial. At one time, that was enough information to green-light multi-million dollar media buys. Exposure to, rather than involvement in, was all advertisers really needed to know.

But now that digital data exists that tells advertisers how involved people were in their commercials, impressions become less impressive.

Certainly, impressions will continue to be bought and sold. But basically, all an impression offers an advertiser is possibility. In the future, it will become much more difficult to justify paying for possibility when one can pay for actuality.

This change won't stop at media. It will also carry over to how advertisers pay for content creation. Why pay for the creation and production of a commercial based on the possibility that those who choose to start watching it will watch all of it?

Especially now that advertisers can get actual data reporting how many watched how much of a commercial.

Advertising agencies may balk at this. After all, the one thing ad agencies have always believed in is that it is far more lucrative to be paid for the possibility of success than it is for the actuality of results.

Digital data allow advertisers to pay for the actuality of success.

Failure will no longer be lucrative.

Advertisers, the ball's in your court.

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