Every day, with frustration mounting, I read another article by an online video wonk touting the value of buying impressions. Stuff like –
- Pre-roll Ads aren’t as pricey as you think they are
- Simultaneous Viewings are the cat’s meow
- Financial Services Company buys 85-million Impressions online
This is old school thinking so bad it could have come right out of those abandoned, decaying, one-room school houses that you can still stumble upon in rural America (circa 19th Century).
Offline (TV) is push, online should be pull; offline is intrusive advertising, online should be inclusive advertising; offline is about selling an impression; online should be about selling an interaction.
Mainstream folks will tell you that impressions indicate how many times someone saw your advertising. I prefer to modify that statement by saying impressions are how many times someone could have seen your advertising.
How many people in your target audience are in the bathroom, rummaging around in the fridge, or using their clicky-things to fast forward when your message is playing? How many people actually pay attention to your nifty pre- or mid-roll video online?
It’s the tree in the forest thing: if your video runs and nobody watches it, does it really make an impression?
Now, if I have a video on my website, and it’s user-initiated (think opt-in), then I know darn well that that visitor chose to interact further with my brand. Even better, I can measure my video’s effectiveness. Even, even better, if I use email to invite viewership, and I have properly segmented my list, I can glean all manner of accurate, detailed demographic info. Oh, and I can track conversions, or what we call Return on Interaction.
See, traditional TV and Agency pros want to sell you potential eyeballs, not actions.
Bottom line, stop trying to buy an impression, and start trying to make one.
How do you know if someone is interacting with your brand? Stay tuned.