NONE: ONLINE-ADS>> DEBATE: 4/25/98 - measuring impressions, digest # 09

ONLINE-ADS>> DEBATE: 4/25/98 - measuring impressions, digest # 09
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 11:45:55 -0500 (CDT)

How should our industry measure an impression?
4/25/98, digest # 09

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Panelists' Responses:

1.) Keith Pieper - MatchLogic
2.) Kate Everett-Thorp - Lot21 Interactive Advertising Group, Inc.

Online Ads List Responses:

3.) Ken Cooper - doesn't one want to have the robots go through?
4.) Randall Pickard - my focus is on outcome based relationships.
5.) Don Westrich - responses to Sean Pfister, Brian Alpert & David Prager


Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 18:34:29 -0600
From: Keith Pieper <>

Ulrich Voss <> asked:

> Is your technique for measuring cached pageviews dependent on
> Java(script) or any other client-side technology...?

The straight forward answer to a straight question...MatchLogic does not
depend upon client-side technology for measurement purposes.
Keith Pieper
Idea Architect, MatchLogic

-----------------------------POST NUMBER 2

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 10:02:19 -0700
From: Kate Everett-Thorp <>

This discussion has been a lot of things for me. It has ultimately
encouraged me that so many of the people contributing have shared not only
their opinions but have actually put some methodology and technical
clarification behind it. It has also confirmed many of my beliefs in
regards to the need for education and awareness when it comes to this
topic. As good as the information sharing can be, misinformation still

I think our largest challenges lie in the fact that what we want as a
measurement...A person seeing an ad..and what we can accomplish
ad being served to a machine (refer to the technical clarification provided
by Tom Shields post #5 & 7) is not the same by a large "capabilities"
delta. Many frustrations that I personally incur when it comes to
measurement is the reluctance for people to admit we can't do what we want.
Equally important is the need to commit themselves to standardizing what
we can while engaging their companies and the industry to improving the
situation as a whole.

What we can do today is provide comparable measures for advertisers and
publishers. It makes me chuckle whenever the industry counters the need
for accuracy with the argument for falling click rates, increased
impressions, unknown impact on CPMs. To be honest, I'm not sure there is
an argument that can be justified to any community within the industry that
knowing the "real" numbers is not more important. To be honest, we don't
know that there will be a financial effect on any group, publishers and
agencies included. The scenario is this...What ever the real numbers are
we already are feeling a positive financial effect. Do we think advertiser
A who currently spends $1 and gets $4 out in revenues is going to spend
less because their CPM changed?? For instance, if I spend $50,000 a month
in media at an average CPM of $50 and my client has a 2% click rate and a
5% conversion to sales...let's change to actual numbers...$50,000 a month
in media, a $50 CPM, 1,000,000 Impressions, 20,000 clicks to their site,
1,000 sales _at_ $200. Say this advertiser is tickled pink that they are
grossing $200,000 for each $50,000 spent. If we find out that the
impressions were under counted by 50%, does anyone really think that this
example advertiser will suddenly spend less because their click rate went

Even if you were running a branding campaign, the increased impression
(especially if you could get unique numbers) would get many advertisers
excited about the potential "mass" element of the Web. We shouldn't forget
that there are a lot of advertisers that aren't spending yet on the Web
because they don't think they reach enough people to make an impact on
their brand or products.

I hope everyone has received as much information from this discussion as I
have. I think it has been fantastic to see the different groups
contributing in one virtual location such as this. As I mentioned at the
beginning of my post I and the IAB are very committed to beginning an
awareness campaign. If you are interested in contributing your time and
talents to the IAB's Media Measurement Task Force, please feel free to
email me at

Kate Everett-Thorp
President & CEO
Lot21 Interactive Advertising Group, Inc.
ph 415.227.2121
fx 415.227.2138

-----------------------------POST NUMBER 3

Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 19:42:40 -0000
From: kcooper <>

David Zinman <> wrote:

>There are two ways to filter robots: using a robots.txt file or purging
>log files of known robots. The first method is the most reliable, but
>both can be used.
>In the first method, the server contains a robots.txt file, which tells
>well-behaved robots to avoid downloading files and generating false
>impressions and clicks.

Now perhaps this question is naive but, from a publishers perspective,
doesn't one want to have the robots go through and catalog ones' site? So
that Joe public can use a search engine to find the information on those

To disallow robots into your site would be like sending a paper copy of a
your publication to every library in the world with instructions that the
librarian is not aloud to look at, and possibly recommend it. Even if the
second method that you mentioned for filtering robots may be flawed, it
makes more sense, from a publishers perspective. Or is there something
that I missed about these robot things?

Ken Cooper

To be is to Do - Socrates
To do is to Be - Sartre
Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra

-----------------------------POST NUMBER 4

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 12:09:14 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)
From: Randy Pickard <>

I've been lurking for the last week and reading
the superb posts on measuring impressions. Thanks
to the authors for your well thought out contributions.

However, a discussion on impressions doesn't have
a great deal of relevance to me. As a direct seller,
my focus is on outcome based relationships. Given that
I have a fixed break even cost for new member acquisitions,
and branding and driving traffic to my site are only
secondary goals, my focus is basically on the
cost-efficient acquisition on new members. Thus, my primary
interest is in outcome or bounty based deals.

I know that many of you who are content publishers are
going to be appalled by this policy. However, it all comes
down to leverage. Most content publishers have excess
inventory. Peapod has a viable interactive direct sales
model and we are more than willing to pay bounties to sites
that can deliver new members.

If a content publisher determines that this media policy is
unacceptable, that's fine with me. I don't have enough
time to return all the phone calls I get from web banner ad
peddlers as it is.

I certainly recognize and appreciate a web content
publisher's concern over being compensated based upon
factors over which they have no control, including the
demand for our service, our pricing, our customer service,
and our creative. However, I'm not nearly as interested
in meeting the needs of publishers as I am in meeting my

My goal is to get a new member to the point of placing
a third order. Once they have done so the probability is
that they will stay with our service for years. Thus, our
bounty system will be based on paying a referring site $15
for every member they deliver to us that places an initial
order, and an additional $15 bounty if that
member places a third order. Obviously a web publisher
can't do much more than deliver a visitor to our front
door, and then the publisher becomes completely dependent
upon us to compel a site visitor to reach the point of
placing a third order. However, this is where the member
justifies the cost of acquisition to Peapod, so this is
an outcome that will be rewarded with a bounty payment.
Here's the response of one web content provider
to this program:

"That actually sounds pretty good to me. I've got
extra advertising inventory (buttons on the side,
banners on the bottom) that I'm just running with
barter ads and in-house stuff. A deal like this is
good because I'll get something xtra and I can pull
it when I get a real CPM deal."

In order to have sufficient leverage to demand
that advertisers meet their terms, a web publisher better
be able to provide overwhelming traffic or an audience
that is uniquely valuable. My suggestion to web
publishers that desire to maximize revenue is to offer
a variety of programs to meet the specific needs of
potential clients. Reserve your prime spots for CPM deals,
but plan on having some excess inventory available for click
thru and outcome based relationships.

While having to sort through outcome based and click thru
deals is certainly going to be time consuming, it turns
the traditional relationship between publishers and
advertisers upside down. The traditional relationship is
for a publisher having a somewhat random collection of ads
to run, and the advertiser specifically selecting the
vehicles they want to utilize. With direct sale and click
thru models, the publisher is now in the drivers seat as
far as selecting which advertisers will be featured.
The publisher now gets to decide if a direct sales
company's ads offer value to their readers. Most
importantly, the publisher will also select the offers
that offer the greatest potential to put money in their
bank account.

I'm in the process of implementing our capability to track
visitor performance and develop an accounting protocol
that permits Peapod to compensate referring sites based on
outcomes. Thus, I would certainly welcome a thread (or
e-mails to me) from direct sales companies that have
implemented out come based programs, or from web publishers
that have used them.



Randall Pickard
Peapod -- Smart Shopping For Busy People
StoogeNet -- Entertaining Lessons On How NOT to Market on
the Internet"

-----------------------------POST NUMBER 5

Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 13:01:30 -0400
From: "Don Westrich" <>

Sean Pfister, Brian Alpert & David Prager bring up an important points.

1. In Sean's words, "a model in which individuals move
step-by-step from a state of disinterest to active
purchasing is convenient, but human behavior is much more

Amen to that. But my "hierarchy" isn't a rigid progression
which every user will take from 1 to 7, but rather a
suggestion for defining consumer reactions to Internet
advertising in order of increasing significance to the

Of course, not every banner is going to offer a sale.
Rather, those that DO will give advertisers a much more
concrete indicator of efficacy than an impression alone
will, just as banners that generate a click-through offer a
more tangible evidence of making an impact than those that
get shown.

2. Also from Sean: "Sometimes the main purpose of an ad is
to create affinity, to reinforce behavior; to simply show
the product."

Definitely. But it's not clear to me what the balance
between the roles of brand-building and transaction on the
Internet will be, nor the best balance for these roles
between the Net and other media. I suspect that for pure
brand image, mass media advertising (tv, print, radio) will
be more effective.

It's hard for me to conceive of an Internet advertisement
that will build brand image without calling for *some* kind
of response, even if it's only the blunt instrument of

3. There's a dangerous tendency that most of us struggle
with: defining the possibilities of Internet marketing in
terms of what other media have been able to do. It still
bears repeating that we haven't been marketing on the Net
long enough to know the rules, and the tools with which we
do it are still evolving at a fast clip.

My posts came from the perspective of one of the companies
that are trying to move that evolution along by making a new
level of customer contact inside banners practical in our
case live multimedia, transactions, and a new level of
accountability. This forces us to reassess about what the
Net can do regularly.

The hierarchy is one way I try to keep my own mind open, and
I thought it might be valuable perspective for this debate.

I do know that the thing that distinguishes the Internet
from other media is that it offers a return channel back to
the marketer. This can be used passively for accurate
accountability (client-side measurement of impressions), and
actively, for customer interaction to (from click-through to

The ones that use the return channel most effectively will
be the winners. Measuring impressions is just one use.

Don Westrich
Thinking Media Corp.
Phone: 212 352 0606
Fax: 212 352 0904
34 West 17th Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10011

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