Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Impression Plus What?

Last month at the Social Media Insider Summit, which I guess only insiders were invited to, the North American Director Of Digital for PepsiCo championed a new phrase.

Impression Plus.

What this means is that instead of just paying for the impressions that advertisers buy directly from publishers, advertisers should be thinking about paying for the shared impressions that they get when the spot is circulated among friends via social media.

Publishers in the future, at least according to this expert, will be guaranteeing X number of direct impressions plus X number of shared impressions.

I think this guy’s onto something but he’s got the “plus” part wrong. It’s not so much shared impressions that publishers should be peddling but rather how much of an impression the direct impression actually made.

In other words, the “plus” should be view duration or time spent data.

After all, most advertisers would consider a 60-second impression to be more valuable to their brand than a 2-second impression. Currently, they pay the publisher the same price for both impressions.

In most cases, the publisher has the data that indicates whether viewers watched a spot for the full 60 seconds or for just 2 seconds. Publishers are loathe to share this data, as the numbers are usually on the lower end and they’re frightened that it might motivate advertisers to stop spending money on their site.

What publishers have to realize is that their job is to bring the proverbial horse to the water. Not to make it drink.

Drinking is the job of the creative agency. (No Mad Men jokes here.)

Which means that publishers should be able to distribute this data without any fear of retribution from advertisers. The fact is, those that should be suffering from trepidation are the creative shops.

I’m calling this new impressions plus model, impression plus time spent, or, ITS.

ITS would be good for the business on a couple of levels.

As it stands now, publishers usually receive only 20% on a cost-per-thousand media buy once all the middlemen have taken their cuts. Publishers are having a hard time getting by making only one dollar out of five.

They need an additional revenue stream.

ITS would allow publishes to continue to sell impressions on a cost-per-thousand basis (CPM). But at the same time, they could sell time-spent data withouth disturbing the middlemens' take.

And, as advertisers start to realize that share of time is more important than share of voice on the digital platform, time spent data will become more in demand.

I’m not saying that shared media isn’t important.

But shared media is just another way to sell impressions. And impressions have limited value the way they’re currently sold. After all, an impression has depth as well as breadth.

Publishers can now sell an impression’s depth along with how wide a swath it cuts through the media landscape.

Both metrics, after all, have value.

To advertisers.

As well as publishers

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