10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Impressions – And #8 Will Melt Your Heart

By Tad Miller | May 28, 2014
More Articles by Tad


First off, this isn’t one of those intriguing top ten lists that requires you to keep clicking to the next page to see what the next item on the list is.  In fact, it’s not a top ten list at all.  The “click-bait” headline is the style of the day for online publishers who make their living off of crafting headlines that make you want to click through and see what’s on the other side.  They always seem to add a little something extra to headlines like:

  • And you won’t believe what happens next.
  • I thought                        . But then I saw this shocking video.
  • If you can watch this and not feel revolted, then you are stronger than I am.

There are thousands of sites that are doing this.  They all seem to be buying ad space at the bottom of the page of web sites reporting harder news.  I admittedly have fallen prey to the time suck that these ads can create, and you may have as well.

Search underway for missing men in massive Mesa County mudslide - The Denver Post (1)

But ask yourself this:  Do remember any of the ads on those internet sessions?  Have you ever bought anything that you have ever seen advertised on those sites?  It’s more likely that if you did notice the ads, it’s because they didn’t have anything to do with you or your life.  In other words, they can be shockingly un-targeted.

How Did All of This Happen?

The majority of online publishers get paid for ad revenues, and the pricing model to sell those ads is cost per thousand impressions (CPM).  The more impressions the site receives in a day, the more they can charge advertisers for those impressions.  You can’t blame those publisher sites for trying make more money.  But in recent years they have upped the ante with click-bait headlines and slide show-style top ten lists (each click to advance in the list counts as a new ad impression.)

Somewhere along the line, old-guard ad agencies convinced clients that online media was just like TV, radio and print ads and it was all about “building awareness”.  This is the “push” model of advertising that deals with the old “effective advertising frequency” theory that you have to see an ad multiple times before you even really notice it.

Media buyers have even “modernized” the ad buying model by moving the media buying model away from human beings buying ad impressions on a website to automated, technology-controlled impression buys.  The hottest buzzwords in the digital ad space are “programmatic” ad buying or “real-time bidding.”

But the reality is that it doesn’t matter how you buy the impressions (especially when the publishers are goosing them with click-bait headlines and top ten list slide shows). At a minimum you are just getting eyeballs on an ad, with little to no guarantee of advertising success.

You deserve more than just being seen.

You deserve more than just being seen.

Search Marketers Weren’t Made for This

Search marketers like myself have watched the CPM model for years from afar…and most of us have been shaking our heads the whole time.  Search marketers optimize every ad click for conversion success.  We seldom ever even look at the impressions – we look at the results from the clicks.  We actually even exclude our display ads from showing on websites when we don’t see sufficient results.  We look at our results every single day and optimize accordingly.

Whereas, traditional display marketers just spend their time trying to figure out where their next ad impression is going to come from and making sure that the amount of impressions they bought actually get delivered.

Search marketers know that there needs to be relevance to the target demographics of the ad for it to be effective.  We approach display advertising with the tools that the Google Display Network gives us to make ads relevant.  We utilize remarketing, search interests, page topics, age, gender, etc.

Delivering on Promises is Better than Delivering Impressions

Bottom line: Marketers want results from display advertising. The other crowd is about building awareness and getting cheap ad views.  Case in point for the results-driven marketers delivering on the promise:

#8.  Both puppies and kitties agree that you can do better than just getting impressions.

Kittens and puppies want results from display advertising. You should, too.

Kittens and puppies want results from display advertising. You should, too.

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