Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Advertising Age says mobile marketing stymied by high CPMs

I was about to get into a serious rant about this article from Advertising Age that laments mobile marketing's ability to compete with traditional media due to (relatively) small audience sizes and high CPMs, but then I came across this great post from Dave Polinchock at Brand Experience Labs, who has already done it for me :)

So instead, all of you media buyers and planners out there, I want you to repeat after me:

There are other metrics besides CPM!
There are other metrics besides CPM!
There are other metrics besides CPM!

Got it? The continued reliance on such an irrelevant metric (in this case - I know it's great for other things, honest) continues to baffle me. I mean, how can you compare the value of 1,000 eyeballs potentially watching a 30-second TV commercial in a 2 minute pod during American Idol to a single user that you know is watching a 15 second ad before a downloaded video clip that he specifically requested. It's just amazing to me that there are organizations out there who are even attempting to relate the values of these two extremely different audiences, viewing environments and delivery methods the same way.

Yes, I understand that the powers that be speak the CPM language, and dream dreams that are evenly divisible by 1,000. I know this is the way it has been done since the dawn of time and that million-dollar software packages are optimized for this specific metric. But who on earth is going to get any value out of this new medium (and others, like out-of-home, retail digital signage, kiosks, etc., etc.) -- where the total value could potentially exceed that of today's traditional media in a few years -- by just keeping with the status quo? It'll never happen.

Google successfully got advertisers away from CPM and moved to a cost-per-click (and maybe soon a cost-per-action) model. Who's going to step up and do the same for all the other new media?

Tags: CPM, mobile media, below-the-line marketing, digital signage


Anonymous said...

And one day, perhaps several years from now, advertisers, planners, buyers and sellers will agree on different metrics for different media. For now, however, media sellers are simply giving the agency community what they want: a way to compare alternative media with TV. However, since it appears TV CPMs will rise significantly based on commercial ratings, perhaps those mobile marketing CPMs won't seem so high!

Bill Gerba said...

I won't argue that CPM is the de-facto standard, and by using the lingua franca there's a better chance of participating in a larger number of media buyers' plans.

But personally I think the more rabble-rousing right now, the better. Getting people interested in the idea of using a more appropriate metric will hopefully reduce the amount of time for said metric to become a new standard, just like what happened with pay-per-click.

DNAmo said...

Can anyone comment on what would be a CPM estimate for a video ad clip on a 3.5' screen at a shopping mall's cash register? The ad starts only when there is a customer in front of it... What would be a reasonable guess?

Bill Gerba said...

DNAmo: CPMs are still very much determined on a case-by-case basis, often involving lots of back-and-forth negotiation. However, I will say that checkout-lane signage generally gets a lower CPM than other in-store signage of the same size (since it's towards the end of the sales process, and potentially after the point of decision for many customers).

I've seen Digital signage CPMs everywhere from $3 to over $80. It all depends on the "quality" of the audience and their location (both in space and time) with respect to the items being advertised.

Unless confronted with a demand for a CPM-based rate card, I'd actually recommend trying to sell space on the signs more like static POP and posters - e.g. $150/screen/month will get you 2 15-second spots in a 10-minute, non-dayparted loop.

DNAmo said...

Thank you Bill! This was a very good suggestion. I must say that this is a superb blog on digital signage.

Here is another good article on mobile CPM - http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=117158.