December 19th, 2006

The Page View Can Only Be Dethroned By Innovations in Online Advertising Value

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There’s more talk about the death of page views, this time from the Chief of Insights at Yahoo, the recently dethroned page view king.

The reason page views persist is that they are a key variable in the still dominant currency of online advertising — impressions, and its derivative CPM. Impressions themselves are merely the clunky online analogue to TV ad “exposure” — the currency in big money advertising has long been whether the ad was seen.

The reason Google has been so disruptive is that they abandoned not only page views and impressions but also all audience demographics, and they replaced them with the elegant keyword and click. Clicks have their problems, of course — they can be gamed and they are only a way-point on the way to a destination. But they sure beat the hell out of impressions as a clear measure of advertising value. CPA, or cost per action, has long been positioned as the next evolution, because advertisers only pay for the end result — the problem is that in many instances it’s difficult to attribute an end result, particularly long sales cycle purchases, to one specific ad.

I’ve written before that the future of online advertising lies in the fuzzy middle between direct response and branding — at the end of the day, the challenge is finding currencies for advertising that map to advertiser objectives.

It’s no coincidence that Jason Calacanis is studying multivariate analyses of advertising effectiveness — the “traffic game” remains a clash of titans (as Richard MacManus demonstrated), but all the action going forward will be the quest for Google-like innovations in advertising value.

Comments (15 Responses so far)

  1. Online Audience Measurement: Time for a new hit, indeedScott Karp / Publishing 2.0: The Page View Can Only Be Dethroned By Innovations in Online Advertising Value

  2. notion that advertising can be content (the viral ad) and that ad creative gets tangled up again with media and distribution (being on MySpace is itself the brand statement) and you continue to unravel all the old assumptions about the media economy; see Scott Karp arguing that the page view will be dethroned by innovation in advertising. And mess things up even more when you start tearing apart the methodologies of measurement. Fred Wilson, on the board of Comscore, begins to

  3. notion that advertising can be content (the viral ad) and that ad creative gets tangled up again with media and distribution (being on MySpace is itself the brand statement) and you continue to unravel all the old assumptions about the media economy; see Scott Karp arguing that the page view will be dethroned by innovation in advertising. And mess things up even more when you start tearing apart the methodologies of measurement. Fred Wilson, on the board of Comscore, begins to

  4. : Thanks to their commenters. Nice. WOMMA: 43 Word of Mouth Ideas You can Implement Tomorrow (Not end of year, but great list) Jeff Jarvis: Size Doesn’t Matter Anymore, The Distributed Media Economy (Links in a list); Noteworthy: Scott Karp and Richard MacManus. Dion Hinchcliffe’s Best Web 2.0 Software of 2006 Other noteworthy concepts from 2006: Ted Leonis of AOL gave the  Day 1 keynote at the WOMMA Summit in December and made the statement: 

  5. and hope that some moron decides to send in that coupon, or sign up for your special travel deals, or order your Cialis knockoffs, or whatever. And my friend Rob Hyndman suggests that they might be right to see it that way. As Scott and others have pointed out, however, this perception also has a lot to do with the fact that advertisers are still focused solely on the page view, and in part the Web industry is itself to blame for that, since page views are still one of the primary yardsticks by which sites

  6. and hope that some moron decides to send in that coupon, or sign up for your special travel deals, or order your Cialis knockoffs, or whatever. And my friend Rob Hyndman suggests that they might be right to see it that way. As Scott and others have pointed out, however, this perception also has a lot to do with the fact that advertisers are still focused solely on the page view, and in part the Web industry is itself to blame for that, since page views are still one of the primary yardsticks by which sites

  7. view trap in a big way — no wonder they have $10 billion in ad revenue. Search advertising, driven by a dynamic marketplace for keywords, was a BIG idea. Behavioral targeting might prove to be a another big idea. But it’s going to take a lot of big ideas for the online advertising economy to cast off the page view/CPM albatross. [IMG ] [IMG] (via tmonkey’s starred items in Google Reader)

  8. 5. The greater the number of content alternatives at any given point in time, the more expensive it is for any given piece of content to acquire an incremental viewer.· Metcalfe’s law Nielsen has shifted prime metric from page view to time spent on the site, massively boosting sites like AOL’s at the expense of Google. As Scott Karp explains: Google, meanwhile, drops to fifth in time spent, primarily because its search engine is focused on giving visitors quick answers and

  9. death of the page view

  10. [...] The Page View Can Only Be Dethroned By Innovations in Online Advertising Value: “ [...]

  11. [...] So says Steve Rubel. And a bunch of others. [...]

  12. There are problems with any model that places a consequence for the effectiveness of the advertising message on the carrier of the advertising. Some ads are better than others in gaining attention and in turning that attention into action. Websites have little if any control over advertising effectiveness. So while there are technical ways that we can create action-based models of payment, it seems to me that the responsibility of the web publisher ends at the point of delivering the message.

  13. [...] Blog community response: “The problem is that it’s all about micro now. Marketers want to build sustained relationships with small groups that will hopefully create a multiplier effect. That my friends means death to all traffic stats. They’re irrelevant in this new era. Do I expect this to shift anytime soon? Probably not. The advertising economy is built on reach. It’s time for it to change to depth.” –Micro Persuasion “The reason Google has been so disruptive is that they abandoned not only page views and impressions but also all audience demographics, and they replaced them with the elegant keyword and click. Clicks have their problems, of course – they can be gamed and they are only a way-point on the way to a destination. But they sure beat the hell out of impressions as a clear measure of advertising value.” –Publishing 2.0 “Indeed, it’s a tough job measuring online traffic, but before calling for new measurement tools, we should perhaps see why our current model is somewhat broken, or at least not working. The last thing we need is for comScore and NNR to introduce a new metric. To me, these companies are reactive, not proactive. They are historians, not soothsayers.” –Hipmojo.com [...]

  14. [...] Add to this the notion that advertising can be content (the viral ad) and that ad creative gets tangled up again with media and distribution (being on MySpace is itself the brand statement) and you continue to unravel all the old assumptions about the media economy; see Scott Karp arguing that the page view will be dethroned by innovation in advertising. [...]

  15. Great post Scott. I typically agree with much you have to say but want to provide some feedback on your comments regarding the tracking of CPA campaigns.

    “the problem is that in many instances it’s difficult to attribute an end result, particularly long sales cycle purchases, to one specific ad.”

    That couldn’t be further from the truth. The simple use of tags related to the lead generated and dynamic integration into a SFA tool of choice resolve this issue entirely. Gone are the days that you can’t track a lead through to a sale…even if the sale takes place 8 months later and closes with a different rep.

  16. [...] took a big step towards accelerating the death of the page view by announcing it would rank websites by time spend on the site instead. But time spent is an [...]

  17. [...] Behavioral targeting might prove to be a another big idea. But it’s going to take a lot of big ideas for the online advertising economy to cast off the page view/CPM [...]

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