What’s it going to be? A pound of lead or a pound of gold?

At the MMA Forum on June 6 and 7, 2007 in New York, several media agency executives commented that the current CPMs charged by wireless carriers for handset advertising was “really, really hard to justify” in comparison to search and directory CPMs (Cost per Thousand – the M stands for Mille in Latin which means Thousand) on the internet that are only one tenth of mobile handset ads. What this comment really tells me is not that mobile handset advertising is too expensive or that internet advertising is cheap. What it really tells me is that media buyers do not know how to value one type of advertising environment compared to another. Can I blame them? Not at all.

Traditionally, advertising has solely been priced based on how many people had the opportunity to see the ad – the CPM from the previous paragraph. This is still the case in most media. IAG Research has made significant inroads to change this by adding the dimension of impact to this relationship starting with the largest advertising medium – television. Do advertisers really care how many people saw an ad if nobody remembers it? I hope not. What advertisers really want to know and are willing to pay for is how many people remembered that ad a day after they have seen it. Why is remembering it a day later important? If the ad entered to medium to long term memory it impacts the viewer’s decision making process about purchasing the advertised products.

The vision of IAG is to measure the impact of advertising wherever advertisers are going. IAG is now expanding the universe of measured media to mobile handset and subsequently to mobile television – and that is only mentioning the initiatives in my sector. We are and will be answering the key questions of how engaging the various new media types are and are able to ascertain the impact of these ads – and most importantly tie it back to how advertising has performed on television as a reference point. If viewers are as impacted by the ads as much as on television then they should be priced like an ad on television. If the audience is impacted only fractionally or more impacted than on television, then the particular fraction or multiple would be the appropriate value of the ad.

This way all advertising can be valued in the relation to the true impact it has compared to the medium it is presented in – once you have this information it is “really, really easy to justify” the different, properly set CPMs and everyone advertisers and the advertising medium gets properly compensated.