Making a “Good Impression” Across Ad Platforms

04.13.2021 Sara Brasfield

In the ongoing quest to build ad campaigns that generate measurable revenue for a business, impressions can sometimes be overlooked as an important performance metric of a cross-platform ad strategy. Because impressions offer the most value early in the customer journey, these brand engagements themselves are rarely driving referrals and sales conversions that can easily validate their success and contributions to a branded campaign.

But if you think impressions are nothing more than a soft, secondary metric with vague implications on your ad strategy, it’s time to revise that opinion. Especially in a local market where you’re battling to win customers and market share, impressions can be a leading metric to understand engagement-level strategy, and to see how your efforts to build brand awareness are helping—or hurting—your conversion efforts farther down the funnel.

What is an “Impression”?

As an advertising metric, impressions represent the number of times ad content is viewed by an audience. Impressions are counted regardless of whether the ad exposure leads to any kind of action on the part of the audience, and they can be counted across a wide range of advertising campaigns, including those occurring on traditional TV, display advertising, search advertising, social media ads, digital video, digital audio, and other ad channels.

The ability to measure impressions has become far more reliable with the advent of digital media, since ad inventories can connect impressions to individual consumers, and even track the number of impressions each consumer has received. However, impressions can be measured in more traditional mediums as well, such as traditional TV. This allows a marketer to have a more holistic view of how they are reaching their total audience and the relative cost effectiveness or Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM).

Using Impressions to Evaluate Top-of-Funnel Ad Strategy

When you’re targeting ad content to different stages of the customer journey, you need to take different approaches to measuring this performance. If you only measured awareness-level ads through clicks and lead conversion rates, every ad you ran would be a costly failure.

Every ad professional understands that brand awareness and visibility is the first step toward building sales opportunities farther down the funnel. By measuring impressions and optimizing your spending to maximize total impressions among your target audience, your business can drive the exposure it needs to generate quality leads and create sales opportunities.

An Inclusive Approach to Measuring Ad Performance

As advertising options continue to multiply, the value of utilizing impressions as a performance metric has continued to grow. Consumers are using a number of screens, different digital devices, platforms and channels over the course of any given day. Targeting them through a single medium or tactic rarely makes sense, especially when it comes to creating impressions.

By tracking impressions, your business can more easily evaluate the total exposure taking place among your target audience. Each impression is counted regardless of the consumer or the channel where the impression is delivered, making it easier to evaluate your ad strategy on the whole, rather than on a tactic-by-tactic basis.

This inclusive approach to quantifying advertising impressions ultimately makes it easier to make a post-buy evaluation of how your advertising is driving prospects farther down the funnel—including which tactics play a consistent role in achieving key performance indicators (KPIs).

An advertising partner can help you develop ad campaigns that prioritize impressions across a wide range of media options, while also helping you analyze performance results to see how those efforts are contributing to your marketing goals. Find out how Cox Media can help—contact us today.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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