The Search For An Impact Index

I'm a bit of a geek. I learned this a long time ago and decided to embrace it, so now I want to share with all of you one of the ways that I think about our industry, and advertising as a whole.

Many of you have heard me discuss the balance between science and art that affects our chosen profession, but at the end of the day I truly believe there are mathematical equations that can explain everything. This is especially true in the world of advertising, but recently I have been working on a mathematical explanation to predict how a campaign allocation should detail the types of ad sizes that are considered within a plan.

During the planning process, clients will typically ask how much of the recommendation will be allocated to standard ad units vs. rich media. I believe that all ad units should be considered rich media, but there is a planning element that states you must consider the types of ad units initially to determine what effect they will have on the final outcome of the campaign. This can be defined as a prediction for "Impact." In trying to determine the answer to this question, I have been working on something called "The Impact Index." The Impact Index is a formula that will allow planners to predict the weighting of ad sizes based on their desired effect on the consumer.

First we must consider that you can typically count on the concept that higher priced inventory is more targeted and therefore is more effective at achieving your goals. 468 banners and 120 skyscrapers are mass produced, widely located, and are typically less expensive inventory than prestitials and LREC sizes which are slightly lower supply, higher demand and typically more effective at rising above the clutter.

If this is the case, then is it possible that there is a mathematical explanation that can accurately depict the effectiveness or percent allocation these units should be weighted within a campaign recommendation?

I have been working on a formula which factors in a number of elements to determine the potential weight allocation of these types of units in the media mix, but I have not reached the outcome yet. My hypothesis is that there is a correlation between the following factors that can help predict the maximal allocation for achieving key brand metrics online.

Some of the factors I have been balancing are as follows:

• Pricing
• Total Budget
• Desired objective (increase awareness X%, etc.)
• Percentage of single page pixels that are allocated to advertising
• Percentage of single page pixels that are allocated to your advertising
• Percentage of single page pixels that are allocated to editorial
• Ad format (i.e. Flash, Gif, Video)
• Intrusiveness (above the page, separate browser, within content)
• Length of exposure
• Length of flighting
• Desired reach and frequency
• Call to action

There are certainly other elements that I think affect the outcome, but it becomes very easy to overwhelm the equation and include too many variables to be truly effective and accurate with the outcome.

I am curious if you think it is possible to formulate an "Impact Index" and if so, what type of elements would you consider in the mix? If there was a way to weight these elements and predict in the planning process the allocation of units, then the development of RFP's would be streamlined slightly and the creative process would be able to be started earlier, not as dependent on the media plans but more capable of being developed based on the strategy.

What do you think?