March 23, 2023 | Maz Tannir

Stop Counting Your Impressions

Print advertising prices are increasing, and more and more digital solutions are surfacing across the marketing industry. As a result, it’s no wonder that many large marketing firms, particularly in agriculture, are looking at digital media as a more affordable solution. 

But are growers and agronomists clicking on the banner ads? And more importantly, are they engaging?

Impressions vs. viewable impressions

Let’s begin by defining something very important. A viewable display ad is one that has at least 50% of its pixels in view for at least one second or two seconds if it’s a video. Let that sink in for a bit. 50% of your ad for 1 second. That’s it. 

Now, consider the speed of page loads in some rural areas. If 50% of the ad is shown, the platform identifies it as a viewable impression. If less appeared, then it’s called an impression. 

Don’t worry about how many impressions you get, and focus on viewable impressions as your starting point.

Where did the clicks go?

With the increase in privacy laws to protect users’ data, we have seen that the audiences are now more interested in securing their information and are reluctant to click on ads – the trust in sites has decreased. 

The Cookie message you see on every site doesn’t help either. Over the past two years, we observed a steady drop in click-through rates across every industry, including agriculture. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not working. If someone is interested, you can count these towards the attribution of the last click.

Here’s the thing. Impressions and clicks are vanity metrics. They don’t mean anything unless you get conversions. Having a certain share of voice on a site is valuable ONLY when audiences click and convert because they are interested in what you have to say, and they need your product because it solves a problem. 

Stop buying impressions and counting click-throughs, and focus on verified data and conversions.

Stepping away from impressions

Every tactic in the digital ecosystem works, but it works even better when you combine it with other tactics. A recent client of ours saw an increase in conversion of almost 4% when we added tactics like connected TV and Digital Audio around the display campaign we had running and increased our SEM presence in the desired geographies. The last click attribution was organic search because users would see and hear the ads but then search for the product themselves.

Always watch your organic reach and try to understand when it happened and what tactics were in the market at the time to understand attribution.

So, considering the above, what would your game plan look like? 

  • Start with your strategy and personas. Determine where and how your audience is going to be browsing. Work with publishers, and use verified data on growers or agronomists.
  • Ensure you have a sufficient CRM program for your omni-tactic approach and follow the conversions, not the impressions or the clicks.
  • Finally, make sure you are setting a frequency cap on digital ads on the platforms that allow you to. If the same person sees your ad 100s of times without clicking, why are you chasing them? Suppress that data set and move on.

Maz Tannir

Maz uses 26+ years of experience to effectively develop, negotiate and tailor media strategies to align with marketing goals. He is actively involved in industry organizations including the IAB (Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce and Programmatic Trading Committee), and is a Media and Advertising Professor at George Brown College. You can connect with Maz on LinkedIn.