The CPM has long been our default currency, within both the direct sale of yesteryear and today's programmatic marketplace. As a marketer, you habitually evaluate the base value of your media by the CPM. But you want to ensure your media spend is as efficient as possible, because you are spending dollars and impressions to actually reach your audience. Unfortunately, thanks to bots, the long-favored CPM is a polluted measure that keeps you from doing so. So, what's the wiser alternative? Let us consider the human CPM (hCPM): effectively, how much you spend to reach humans.
One of my clients recently told me that he's spending a big portion of his budget on programmatic media buys, but isn't seeing a lot of ROI. He then proceeded to ask, "What should I do differently?"
Every new media age waxes nostalgic for the simpler media that came before, when it was (or seemed) so much easier to do business. TV felt that way about radio, the pioneers of the PC-based Internet felt that about TV (and maybe they still do), and I'd venture everyone confronting the "mobile-now" world longs for the simple days of measuring the PC-based Web. The question is, what's the media revolution that's going to make us pine for the simpler days of mobile?
In the last year and a half, a good deal of light has been shed on the issue of fraud in the digital supply chain. Trade publications (including this one) and, notably, the Wall Street Journal have been reporting on the problem of non-human traffic (NHT) and fraud, raising awareness among publishers, agencies, and advertisers. At this point, it would be tough to blame advertisers for being skittish about their investments in the digital ecosystem. But maybe things aren't all that bad. In one study, four out of five campaigns tracked had less than 5% NHT.
Even as marketers and agencies get comfortable with the necessity of data-driven marketing, there are lingering issues tied to our "bigness" obsession. On the ad tech supply side, we must decide continually how to solve large data engineering problems. At the same time, marketers must embrace the possibility of rich data without fixating on its complexity, obsessing over its bigness, or wandering into common mistakes that can steer one astray. For all of us, it comes down to simplifying the way we regard data in the first place and how we gauge consumer intent.
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