WebU: Capitalizing on the Clicks
Gone are the days when an advertiser was forced to choose between paying exorbitantly high CPMs for premium placement on larger sites and going through the trouble of negotiating a myriad of individual buys across smaller sites. Networks now make this a snap, essentially providing one-stop shopping. And they offer enormous flexibility in targeting and pricing. You can still pay on a CPM, but CPC, CPA and a ton of other models are available for you to choose from. Now that we have more options, how do we make the most of them?
Capitalizing on an ad network's flexibility boils down to careful planning and analysis. In other words, you need to find the pricing model best suited for your budget, and then evaluate it relative to your metric. For example, one of the most popular pricing models, especially for those looking to satisfy an ROI goal, continues to be the CPA or Cost Per Acquisition/Action model. This model allows the advertiser to pay a set price per conversion, rather than paying per 1,000 impressions. And keep in mind that that "action" metric doesn't necessarily have to mean a sale. It could mean an e-mail sign-up, a visit to your store locator page or a request for more information.
On the surface the CPA models seem like the solution to all media buying woes, but keep in mind that any system has flaws, and you need to work on proper measurement and attribution modeling to ensure your media buying efforts best serve your needs. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- CPA Targeting and Measurement: The CPA model is based on both clicks and view-throughs. This means that all someone has to do is see one of your display ads and they become part of the CPA pool. If they end up converting - depending on what your conversion windows are - within a reasonable amount of time, you will be charged for it. Also keep in mind that the networks may not necessarily be targeting your ideal consumers. Instead, they are targeting the impressions that lead to the best return at this point in time. These may or may not be the most loyal consumers for you long-term.
- Overlap: Depending on how many network buys you have in place, there may be significant overlap. For instance, if I am running with two networks, and both own significant chunks of inventory on Yahoo, I may be hitting the same user with an excessive number of banners on any given day. Make sure to talk to ad reps about programs like Atlas Rider and Double-Click Spotlight.
- Segmentation: It is always a good idea to segment your media as much as possible via tagging, so that each piece can be evaluated separately. Without segmented tagging, one can be left in the dark as to how to optimize. The second piece of valuing any new initiative is to decide on success metrics. It is of the utmost importance to understand that a robust CPA program may not result in a huge incremental lift in site revenue in the short-term, but it could provide other benefits that advertisers forget. Often the surest sign that you are generating new traffic is an increase in unique visitors to your site. It is important that you value this as well. If a customer is visiting your site twice a month instead of once a month, you have an increased ability to upsell. This is also a prime opportunity to utilize your re-messaging and CRM programs to ensure repeat conversion and long-term loyalty.
Utilizing direct-from-site buys, ad network buys, re-messaging, behavioral targeting and search simultaneously, and measuring them holistically, will allow you to reach your target consumers throughout their buying cycles and create brand loyalists with a much greater value to your business.
Blake Suggs is account leader at Range Online Media. (firstname.lastname@example.org)