Counting Eyeballs


The Advertising Industry has some serious problems. Ad agencies are having a difficult time understanding the modern advertising space with the limited, if not worthless, paradigm carried over from the days of radio; the CPM.

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille

CPM means: how much does it cost to penetrate 1000 heads?… or 2000 eyeballs, I suppose. They count the penetrated heads, like an act of war – the body count, the bullet shells, the napalm canisters…and that is the basis of their decisions. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

The CPM is however, a great way to kill off creativity, highlighting the flashy crap while burying the good stuff. Maybe it works well in the counter insurgency of Afghanistan, but it does not work in social media space. What happens after the mommy blogger gets a look at that Spiderman drinking cup that melts in the dishwasher?  Imagine the blog post about that cool new GM retro rod that smells like formaldehyde to the undertaker enduring their midlife crisis.

What’s the CPM for the blogger?: zero.  Can advertisers compete?: no.  Should they stop?: yes.

People are not stupid and they do not work for free. Yet, the entire web advertising model tries to get them to walk through a rat maze of links and pages just to hit more banner ads (impressions).  Advertisers keep doing it, ad after ad, page after page, year after year.  They wonder why the rat don’t hunt.  The most important thing to a rat is food, family, and friends.  There must be a tangible economic incentive for people to do what you want them to do.  Even after that, not all impressions are equal, or favorable, or lead to sales – but every one is valuable to your product and your brand if you know who I am.

Foresight is 20/20

It is always very expensive to change people’s behavior and the best management policy is to accommodate what people are going to do anyway.  If  I want to drive a retro rod, help me do enjoy my friends with it – don’t pull the emergency brake.  If I want to spend time with my family, don’t interrupt me.  If I want to walk in the park, don’t whack me on the head with a billboard.  That’s not a great way to start a conversation.

Open letter to Pitchmeisters

Dear CPM mongers, I have learned to ignore you. Like the paint blots on a Monet, I have learned to see the image despite your distortions.  Your “fear” pitch is comical to me.  The buy-me-love pitch is goofy.  The lifestyle-threat angle sounds as ridiculous as an old like Archie Bunker re-run.  The most fun I can have is using my ability to walk away leaving you talking to yourself like a deranged chimpanzee at the zoo.

Measure what I measure

Help me do what I’m going to do anyway even if I still ignore you – all data is data.  If you want to understand me, measure what I measure; health, happiness, productivity, laughter, family, friends, hope, vision, safety, music art, quality of life.  Help me make friends, empower my community, and care for my family. Don’t try to take these away from me – you will lose.

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