Moving beyond impressions

Internet advertising is so cheap (particularly Facebook and run of site network buys) that just about anyone can afford a million impressions, and a billion isn’t out of reach.

Pretty soon it turns into noise. An infinite number of impressions is dangerously close to no impressions at all.

The conversation media reps have with advertisers quickly devolves into, "how cheap can I buy a million impressions?" What a waste. That number, out of context, is nothing but a crutch, a poor stand in for the insightful analysis that media buyers ought to be using.

Far better to focus on two things, both leading to the real goal:

Perception. Does the ad you’re running increase the value of your name? Are you perceived as an annoyance, an interruptor–or are you a valued sponsor, a trusted friend, someone who is making things better?


Interaction. Not merely a click that leads to a sale. I’m talking about any sort of interaction with you or your organization, whether it’s an online chat, a phone call or navigating your site. Too often, online marketers are focused on pennies per click instead of long-term value per engagement.

Both perception and interaction lead to permission. Permission to deliver anticipated, personal and relevant messages over time. Permission to tell a story. Permission to earn attention on an ongoing basis.

Impressions don’t automatically get you permission. In fact, they might cost it.

[I'm amused to sometimes hear people refer to my concept of "Permission Marketing" as "Permissive Marketing." Pretty Freudian.]