The other day I was in a room with someone and we were discussing the idea of transferring a measurement currency for one medium into the digital world. The feeling from some – neither of us – was that a standard metric from the TV world needed to be translated onto online.
Here’s the thing. On TV the ad delivery premise is simple. Either the programming has 100% of the screen, or one single ad has 100% of the screen.
Easy to understand. Probably why TV is enjoying a strong bounce in 2010 despite many incorrectly claiming it’s a redundant medium.
But I digress. The fact that either ad or programming has 100% of the screen is the point. It’s the same with radio. It’s the same with most print mediums. It’s the same with most media aside classifieds.
With digital – it isn’t generally the case. In 95% of cases there are multiple ads competing for the users attention. On some publishers over 10. On others, over 20.
So, instead of one ad, there’s multiple.
But then it becomes even more complicated.
A user might have 5 browsers open at one time. This means they’re being served ads across all 5 browsers. This means at any one time there could be 50 or even 100 ads running at any one time.
Personally, I think this is a challenge many of us haven’t really begun to try and solve. We talk about impressions, unique browsers, clicks – metrics which I think most are starting to believe have no real grounding in the areas that really matter. They are digital buzzwords that are at odds with the rest of marketing terminology.
I guess there’s a few issues here.
– there’s generally too many ads per page. Having 15/20/25 ads on a page a user spends 60 or 90 seconds on is ridiculous. No one would dispute this.
– The way users are interacting with the web is constantly changing – more things are being done concurrently … but are the ad options we offer up to clients reflecting and adapting to this?
My gut tells me impact and clutter are important issues that will become even more important in the next 12 months. Why? Because of what I am saying above … advertisers are going to start to want the same impact and clean space they get on TV.
Right now, I’m not sure they’re considered that important. The market is driven by CPM so the ultimate desire is to drive CPM down. If CPM yields drop, the obvious reaction is to add more pages to maintain overall yield. The more ads, the lower the CPMs go … the lower the CPMs go the more ads you need to add to a page?
Question for the marketing people out there? Would you be prepared to pay more for placement on a page where you were the only advertiser? Would you be prepared to pay more for category exclusivity on a page? Do you feel clutter is devaluing your investments in digital?
Or, alternatively, would an FMCG brand manager pay a premium to be on a supermarket shelf space that was exclusive to her/his brand? Or closer to the register? Or a price for an aisle end display? I think they would.
Being one of 10 advertisers on a page fighting with the content for a users attention can’t be appealing to a marketer can it?