You really need to check out Greg Wilson’s blog and listen to what he has to say about this subject. Greg is founder and CEO or Red Ball Tiger in SF. His question? Is an analog impression the same as a digital impression? Read what he has to say:
Obviously, my first reaction was, “but, of course.” After all, an impression is an impression, isn’t it?
“Well, consider,” said an online publisher, “on my site, I can tell you how much time a viewer spends with a commercial message. True, the advertiser might be buying a thirty-second impression, but what if the viewer only watches five of those thirty seconds?”
“Now let’s say another advertiser buys a thirty-second impression, which, on average, twenty-five seconds are viewed? Are both impressions, the five-second impression and the twenty-five second impression, of equal value to the advertiser?”
My response was, “of course not. The twenty-five second impression is much more valuable.” “So,” said the online publisher, “should I be able to charge more for that?”
In the past, an impression was just that—a metric that indicated “how many” might be watching something. In the digital marketplace, we can actually tell “how long” the impression lasts for.
In other words, an impression now has an added-value based on the amount of time-spent with the message.
For example, if an advertiser runs a thirty-second spot in front of one million people and discovers that, on average, only five of the thirty seconds are viewed, the total time-spent with the brand is 5 million seconds.
Now let’s say another advertiser runs a thirty-second spot in front of only half as many viewers—500,000—but average time-spent with the message is 25 seconds per viewer. Total time-spent with the brand in this case would be 12,500,000 seconds.
In other words, a 150% increase in time-spent with the brand for approximately half the media cost.
I found this to be quite a provocative question. As viewing audiences continue to fragment and the long tail grows ever longer, online publishers will need to find additional revenue streams to augment CPM.
Is time-spent the answer? It certainly is a measurement metric that online publishers have at their disposal.