Times are tough. Folks are being made redundant, clients are focused delivering their bottom lines and generally moving away from brand campaigns and media owner revenues are in free fall across many sectors. ITV are announcing their profit results on Wednesday and from what I’ve heard, it’s not going to be pretty. There are similar stories across a number of other media owners.
However, what’s quickly becoming apparent is that any medium that can demonstrate accountability is on the receiving end of increased spend levels. It’s a no-brainer that paid search continues do well. But what about online display? This has traditionally been an area where the cost per thousand (CPM) impressions buying model dominates and clickthrough rate (CTR) has been the main reporting metric. My views on CTR are already known, so I won’t reiterate them. What I’m more interested in is the change in the way that media agencies are looking at online display accountability.
A traditional cost per thousand impressions model is based on generating reach within a network / site / channel / target audience and using the creative to generate awareness or clicks. With CTRs falling and ‘Ignore-Thru’ rates rising, we need to do more to engage users. But should it be the sole responsibility of the media agency to deliver the client’s objectives? No. The cost per acquisition (CPA) model is widely used on direct response campaigns, with media owners who fail to deliver the target CPA being dropped from the schedule.
But what about campaigns where there isn’t a hard acquisition target or where there’s a brand response objective? This where the media owner needs to come in on the accountability party. Based on the sales pitches I’ve seen recently, media owners have confidence in their product and their ability to deliver relevant audiences. If this is truly the case, I really believe that they should be happy to share the responsibility of the campaign with the media agency. This means moving from pure CPM buying to cost per click (CPC) / cost per view (CPV) / cost per landing (CPL) / cost per acquisition buying. This ensures the media owner has equal responsibility in shouldering the weight of the campaign. The media owner gets access to the ad server data, can see how activity from their site is doing on a post-click / post-impression basis and everyone’s a winner.
What do you think?