What Digital ROI Is Really About, In Three Words
by Mike Donahue , Op-Ed Contributor, September 6, 2017
To properly calculate return on digital media investment, we must take into account two other words beginning with the letter I: intent and impressions.
What is the advertiser’s intent?
Simply put, it is to get the best brand outcomes from buying orders of magnitude impressions against brand prospects and brand users targeted by their behavior as identified by their intent visiting websites.
But therein lies a problem. And for many advertisers, a really big problem.
Website visitation behavior isn’t always that of people. In many cases, the activity is that of bots diverting advertiser money to really bad actors in really bad places.
What’s the magnitude of that problem? By at least one estimate, only 10 million of the 330 million active websites are visited by people vs. machines.
How do we solve the dual problems of advertisers not reaching people while losing billions of dollars in the process?
- We acknowledge that digital media-buying ROI is a return on impressions, not a return on investment.
- Stop sending advertiser money to sites that are not visited by people.
- Stop worrying about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on delivering billions of impressions.
Instead we must not be guilty of FOFO (Fear Of Finding Out) how few impressions are authentic human impressions from people, not machines.
When the digital media community has the intent to do these three things, ROI will be measured against brand outcomes based on reaching people, not impressions based on engaging bots.