NONE: Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Counting Cached Banners with MatchLogic's TrueCount

Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Counting Cached Banners with MatchLogic's TrueCount

Steve Podradchik (
Wed, 5 Nov 1997 13:03:51 -0800


For the record, the IAB (the folks who set an advertising standard and a
board on which Marketwave sits) defines an ad impression as (paraphrasing):

"an opportunity for an ad to be shown"

The expectation is that you count an ad as being shown when the PAGE that it
appears on is shown. For example, if you have an ad on /default.htm, you
should count the ad impression the moment /default.htm is requested. This
also means that an impression would be counted even if the user had graphics
turned off or didn't wait long enough for the ad server to serve-up the ad.

In practice, the vast majority of Hit List Pro and Enterprise customers use
our built-in Ad Manager to track impressions via GIFs or, in a few cases, a
CGI program rather than look for the HTML page (which would also work). For
example, if GeneralMotorsAd1 is defined as a request for
/scripts/ads.dll?AdName=GM1, simply enter that into HL's Ad Manager and away
you go. But, again, either way works with usual caveats that you can't get
accurate #s due to proxy servers and such.

More importantly, I find the entire discussion about "true" ad counts to be
a little more theoretical than practical.

Consider the case of print ads. For these, the advertiser or buying agent
can only be sure of the # of "impressions" from surveys and statistical
calculations -- not terribly precise. But billions of $ are spent every
year on these imprecise ads. An active and functioning buy/sell market
clearly exists even w/o atomic-clock precision.

With online ads, using Hit List or similar traffic and visitor tools, you
get #s that are at least as accurate as print ads. Unfortunately, people
expect everything done on computers, and expressed to 3 decimal places, to
be laser-accurate. But, again, millions are now being spent on online ads
and several times more expected to be spent in the near future. So, while
imperfect, a working buy/sell market exists with generally comparable (but
not perfect) price metrics.

So ... if "true" numbers were suddenly and magically available, there would
be a CHANGE in the pricing of ads on a CPM basis but, dollars to donuts, the
absolute $ spent by any one advertiser on any one site would stay almost
exactly the same with a very few specialized exceptions. The point being
that advertisers are paying for "my ad to be displayed on your site" -- if
you change the metric on them and prove that X times more people are seeing
the ad, I'd bet that most advertisers (at least the ones w/ clout who set
the prices), would say something like "That's nice. But we're still paying
you the same X dollars as we paid you last month since nothing has changed."
Changing from English to Metric, as it were, doesn't change the length of
the rod. But, then again, stock splits aren't supposed to matter either ;)

Steve Podradchik

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