The business models for media companies on the Internet is rapidly changing. For more than 10 years there has been a slow transition from a focus on impressions to engagement. The reason is readily apparent:
Impression are not a good measure for determining the effectiveness of a campaign.
1) Impressions Don’t Tell You How Many People Saw Your Ad or Content
The reality is that if that just because your content is on a website, in a magazine or in the newspaper does not mean that anyone saw it. A newspaper thrown to a driveway counts as a reader if they open the paper or not. A Piece of content far below the fold on a website counts as an impression whether people scrolled to it or not. Just because you received 1, 1 million or 1 billion impressions does not mean that many people saw your content. Impressions measure the theoretical maximum number of people you can reach – not how many people you actually reach.
2) If People Did See your Ad or Content – Impressions Don’t Tell You What They Did
The second problem with impressions as a measure is that even if people saw your content, it does not tell you what happened as a result. Someone saw your content, so what. Did they buy something? Did they generate a lead? By using impressions as your primary metric you have no idea what happened next.
That is the primary issue why impressions are not a good measure. What matters is what happens after the impression – the results. Without results there is no way to justify the spend.
In future posts we will explore how to use ENGAGEMENT to measure the results of your advertising and PR campaigns. Engagement and the impact of the engagement is the key to ensuring your ROI.