2002 Signals the Beginning of the End for the Impression!

At the iMedia summit last week, there were presentations and discussions concerning the current thinking that our industry needs to move away from the impression as the standard ad buying model and move towards audience based buying and/or reach/frequency based models. It’s good to see that this movement is gaining strength as it is crucial to the growth and integration of interactive into the full media mix!

Now, I am a strong supporter of this model, as it will allow us to compare ourselves, on an even basis, to the other forms of media that are in contention for ad dollars, but we need to be careful we don’t over-complicate the issue, which is something that our industry has a tendency to do. The Internet ad industry suffers from the “hydra solution” problem where we tend to remove one issue only to replace it with five more. For example, 1998 decreed the “death of the banner” and now we have more than 1700 different ad sizes in use online according to a study presented last week at the summit (how’s that for “standards”).



If the industry moves away from the impression model, then we need to be clear and simple about where to go. Here are my simple three recommendations:

  1. GRP (Reach/Frequency): Fundamental model for advertising online. Best utilized by marketers looking to increase brand awareness and brand recall.
  2. CPC (Cost Per Click): To be used for search results and direct marketing.
  3. CPA (Cost Per Action): Focused on affiliate programs and direct marketing.

It can be as simple as that if we all agree to move in the same direction.

How long will this take to implement - hopefully not long? This will require some manipulation of the inventory management systems and reporting systems in use by the publishers and ad-servers but it certainly sounds as though the industry is in agreement that we need to get this done quickly.

The stage for talking about this is quickly turning to action, so please be sure that your company is paying attention and getting involved. This is the issuance of a challenge; if you feel that this industry needs to evolve and make changes in order to acquire a larger section of the ad-pie, then stop talking and start doing! Don’t sit on the fence and hope that things will happen. Take the bull by the horns and get moving!

Lets all work together to simplify the issue and not make it more difficult.

Cory Treffiletti is Media Director at Freestyle Interactive in San Francisco, CA.

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