Thursday, July 17, 2008

Performance Insider: Create An Online Media Plan With Some Depth

Create An Online Media Plan With Some Depth

UNDERSTANDING THE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE successes of one media type over another can be a challenge. With many case studies under my belt, I can say, however, that there is a proven connection between CPM successes when a performance-based pricing model is implemented during the same time.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of a strong media mix, as a typical consumer is touched by multiple media channels over the course of the day. I am not just talking about a tactical, strategic plan for strong, established brands; I am talking about anyone who wants to put advertising to work for them.

Consumers drive past billboards on their way into the office. They see a multitude of online display/text/opt-in ads while they are at work. On the way home they hear a radio commercial. Once they get home they see the ad on television. Finally, later that evening, they go online and search for the product or service that has been beaten over their head over the course of the day. Is this annoying at times, being bombarded with the same message over and over again? Absolutely! But, at the end of the day, the result is a sale for the advertiser. The issue is not only understanding which media channel drove the response, but convincing advertisers why they need to have multiple channels supporting their campaign.

I set up this scenario because it is more critical than ever for online advertisers to have depth in their media mix, but even more importantly, within their online strategy. Lately, I have come across a lot of advertisers that are only doing performance-based media, or they are only doing CPM, or they are only doing search. They lack the knowledge and technology to understand how and why they need everything working on their behalf simultaneously. Planning and executing only one online media channel strategy is extremely flawed, for the fundamental reason that different media channels and pricing models reach different consumers at different times, and utilizing one or the other degrades the full potential of each.

With the constant chatter about accountability, performance based expenditures have been increasing year after year since 2005, with the largest percent increase being from 2006 to 2007. Based on the current state of our economy and advertisers wanting to limit their risk, it is logical to assume the increase is going to continue to rise and hit a high in 2008. In fact, based on a recent eMarketer article, 2007 was the first year that performance-based online advertising surpassed CPM or impression-based advertising as a percent of the U.S. online advertising expenditure.

With this desire to limit risk, advertisers are in danger of cannibalizing their online efforts. It is critical to maintain a stable performance-based campaign while keeping in mind the importance of having a CPM strategy, and vice versa. In my opinion you only recognize the full potential of the online channel by utilizing everything is has to offer. Without a strategy that embraces the strengths and weaknesses of all online media, pricing models, creative, etc., companies will be left short of reaching all their potential customers.

Shani Reardon is vice president, media, of SendTec, Inc.

Performance Insider for Thursday, July 17, 2008:

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