The death of CPM – Will Impressions last forever?
A new impression?
Impressions may have had their day (defined by the IAB as when the ad server counts the request for an impression of an ad) There are now a few potential candidates in the works that might push impressions off of its held spot as the “trading currency” for digital advertising but there is contention over what might happen. The first contender, which has cropped up a number of times over the short years that digital advertising has been around, is “Delivered Impressions”, also referred to as “ad loads” or “ad starts”. Rather than count on the ad request, the count is made when the first frame of the ad is loaded. The delay between the standard impression and the delivered impression can be significant enough for Advertiser to question the standard metric imposed by the IAB.
The second contender is the viewable impression which only registers an impression when the ad is in view on the users screen. Again there can be a large difference in the number of counted impressions on the ad server versus the number of viewable impressions.
Some argue that the industry factors in the difference between the cost of an impression and the cost of a delivered or viewable impression by keeping a low cost where a delivered impression or viewable impression may be provided at a higher charge, because of the delivery verification that surrounds it.
The implications for this are enormous and highlight the importance of standardization. The single decision to hinge an entire industry off of a metric definition means that accepting a new definition of an impressions requires unprecedented support and backing of billions of dollars of media revenue. Yet wheels are turning. Flexible publishers work with ad servers that can count ad starts and carve out a niche for themselves, able to trade in this emerging currency.
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