Ah, yes, well it had to come up again… the whole branding v. direct response debate. At AdViking because we are four we often have different perspectives, but one of us is currently wearing two hats… you see he runs CarQuake which is both a publisher (and therefore earns ad revenue), as well as an advertiser for lead generation (and therefore runs direct response campaigns).
Wearing one hat he bemoans the reasonably inconsequential earnings he gets from advertising sold on the site (currently c. £0.70 CPM)… but wearing the other he demands performance from his advertisers who drive traffic to the site. He wants to see results.
And, there is the rub… because stepping back from the precipice and wearing a third hat he can see two things:
- CPM banner advertising is difficult to justify in terms of immediate results. The estimated exposure is good, but how many ‘viewers’ are really viewing? How many are reading his message? How many are being targeted not only as the right audience, but at the right point of the buying cycle?
- CPA lead generation is much easier to quantify, but he struggles to get the reward balance right to incentivise affiliates and partners without giving away all the margin.
The advice follows… for CPM, there needs to be more integration of message, greater exposure of offer / communication into the target audience, or it really isn’t worth that much. For CPA, there needs to be a smoother process – a better introduction of the viewer to the proposition and the neatest possible call to action, too many CPA systems are contrived to suit the tracking and not the customer (and, dare I say it, are prone to more ‘fraud’ too)!
Perhaps, later on, over a beer, he might tell you how brands can fully engage their audience without resorting to cheap flash games or clumsy sponsorship deals.