Metrics and measurement will become a major tool in 2012 for advertisers looking to quantify campaigns. Industry execs have been talking about it for years, but Solve Media CEO and cofounder Ari Jacoby believes the movement will begin to materialize next year.
"At least one major industry will do away with the click-through rate for brand campaigns," Jacoby said. "For display, I get the sense that all the exchanges that have cropped up will have challenges. They will continue to be measured on the delivery of the click-through rate, but there won't be enough to go around and prices will drop precipitously."
Jacoby believes brands will begin hearing more about "cheap CPMs" for non-viewable commodity inventory -- the type of ad space that serves up below the online fold on a Web page where the person viewing the page must scroll down to see the advertisement. While it is counted as an impression, no one sees it because the ad unit literally sits at the bottom of the page or too far off to the side.
Ad rates will come down significantly in 2012 because the units aren't valuable. There are only so many top positions on a publisher's Web site. Buyers will increasingly require audience participation far beyond what the industry refers to as "engagement," Jacoby said.
The ad industry will move toward brand lift metrics in 2012, as a replacement for click-through rates. These are around user engagement behavior, brand awareness and purchase intent, along with other measures of perception and persuasion.
One caveat: ad executives have been burying click-through rates for years. Diaz Nesamoney, founder and CEO of Jivox, an interactive video advertising technology provider, wrote an article two years ago talking about the death of the click-through rate, which made its debut in 1993.