Who still pays money for “advert impressions”?

Here’s a piece of marketing data which it’s time to ignore (unless you already did, many years ago): “advert impressions”. Anybody who still buys or sells online advertising based on “impressions” really needs to think again. So your advert was “seen” 1,000 times, or 100,000 times. Even if you believe the publishers when they tell you this, who cares? All it means is that your advert was displayed that many times. But it might have been off-screen, “below the fold”, on a page where the visitor didn’t scroll down. It might have been shown to a schoolchild in Brazil, or an automated system.

Even if it was on screen at the same time as a human was looking at the screen, it doesn’t mean the visitor noticed it. No magazine publisher with a 20,000 circulation would try to convince you that your advert in that magazine will be read by 20,000 people.

And was your advert even readable? Some third-party websites which want your advertising are still not “mobile friendly”. So they might have showed your advert 10,000 times, but 2,000 of those were on smartphones, and your ad was precisely the size of a Rice Krispie. Are you currently advertising somewhere online? Take a look at your advert on a smartphone …if you dare.

“Advert impressions” is a statistic which tells you nothing of practical value. It’s all about the clickthroughs and conversions, measured at your end. Never forget that.

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