Time to evolve from impressions to impact.
To quote something everyone has read in their marketing 101 textbook, “You need to make 6… 7… 8… or was it 9 impressions before a consumer will recall your ad?” Truth is it really doesn’t matter how many times someone has had the pleasure of being exposed to your ad, what matters is creating impact. To be fair we still need a base metric for pricing and setting goals; however, everyone understands that eyeballs are moot in the 2.0 realm, so lets start the conversation around evolving metrics.
In the traditional advertising world impressions rule.
The question is framed as, “How many people will see my ad for X dollars?”.
In the mass media world this metric is the gold standard; however, applying impressions based thinking in new media, guerrilla, and experiential executions can irreparably damage a brand, because you have only one chance to make a positive impact.
NBC’s online video viewing experience is a perfect example of how impressions based thinking is killing brands. Last night I plugged my computer into my TV, gathered some friends, and hit play to catch up on some missed episodes of Heroes. Before the show started a recycled Nationwide spot ran, no big deal we thought since we are watching Heroes for free. Then, we saw the ad again… and again… and again for a total of 7 times. To make matters worse I had to get up and full size the screen after every spot. In 42 min Nationwide lost 5 customers. In the traditional impressions based market NBC’s video platform seems incredibly attractive as you get 7 impressions with no clutter, but to reiterate even if your dealing with TV based content the online rules are different.
What’s the solution? I don’t have all the answers, but Nationwide could have easily run a 1-2 min pre-roll spot and I would have thanked them for subsidizing my experience, or if the client insisted on interrupting the show they could have taken a 3-4 min mini-story, say of someone who went through a crash, and broken it up across the length of the episode. At the very least feed me a fresh spot at every break. 7 identical spots in a row? That is just lazy.
What works on TV doesn’t work online, so apply the same strategies at your own risk.