I’ve done a few rants in the last year about the value of media impressions and how the current media measurement model is broken. A number of industry related groups have sprung up to discuss the issue, but I think that one key area we can focus on now is how to increase the current reporting for display advertising.
Right now, when a media company books media they usually do 4 things:
1. Find a site that you want to be present on (Facebook)
2. Buy a number of impressions depending on your budget
3. Send the agency the site, the total impressions and the standard ad sizes they have to deliver
4. Never think about it again
Some savvy companies might do monthly or weekly reporting, however my guess is that the majority of clients don’t really care about the optimization of their campaigns (mostly because the agencies haven’t stressed the importance of it).
At the end of the campaign, the company comes back with there report and it usually says something like this:
“We planned to serve 10 million impressions over a 12 week period and our ad campaign achieved that and exceeded our planned impressions by 10%!”
Right now, an impression is counted as follows – a user logs into a site, spends a few seconds on the page and the ad is served. It doesn’t matter if you’ve built a 15-second ad but the user is only on the page for 2 seconds, it still counts. It doesn’t matter if the execution is below the fold and is never actually seen, it still counts.
So how can we improve the current method of reporting without reworking the entire model? Ask your media company to do the following things:
1. Provide a complete site listing (impressions planned vs. served) – Basic…all companies should be doing this already
2. Provide an execution breakdown by site and execution type
3. Determine – by site – where executions are (what percentage are above the fold, below? Are there costs savings for ones below? Hint: there should be)
4. Average time spent per page by site (don’t make a 15 second execution if the average time spent on a page is 4)
5. Overall impression serving plan (are you going to test your executions for CTR? Why not launch with a large number of executions and scale down based on what’s working best?)
6. Tell them to optimize - weekly - based on the objectives you set out at the start
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard when thinking about digital campaigns is this:
“The campaign you start with should never be the one you end with”
Use the medium. Half of the work on a campaign should occur after launch.