Marchese and Finnegan agreed that one of the industry’s biggest problems is a bogus definition of what an impression should be. “It should be based on impact,” Finnegan said. “Did the ad resonate with the consumer? Did they even see it? Did they interact with it? Did it result in subsequent loyalty or purchases? As the industry hurdles into scale through automation and we take on more growth and more budget, we’ve also taken on a lapse of accountability. Lots of noise and many messages are being counted without any verification that they were impactful.”
The true[X] solution is to deliver full-screen, 30-second ad units that are self-selected by the viewer in exchange for some kind of premium content such as a video, a game or more articles. “We give the user a choice and a benefit,” Finnegan said.
But does such premium advertising come at a premium price?
“We work with top publishers and Fortune 500 brands, the ones that care about their brand value,” he said. “It’s premium-priced, but the cost isn’t insurmountable or off the radar of the standard buyer. We give them the guarantee that they reach the audience they intended to reach and that the audience saw the ad. The cost per engagement may be high, but the net return is better for the brand.”
Marchese and Finnegan said their mission is clear. As Marchese succinctly outlined it, “We have to hold impressions to a higher standard. We have to make great interactive commercials. We have to measure on an effectiveness basis, not a tonnage basis. And we have to admit that consumer attention is, and has always been, worth more than two cents for 30 seconds.”