The numbers do lie

Why the CPM pricing model doesn’t work in B2B marketing

By John Murphy, Managing Director, Prime Creative Media

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”

It’s been more than 2,400 years since Plato first wrote these words, and yet they are worth revisiting when considering where to place digital advertising.

Many marketing managers make the critical error of picking advertising options with the most attractive numbers. They look for high readership and low cost. In the digital space, this is often the site with the cheapest Cost per Mille (CPM). The manager thinks that they can easily justify their decision, submitting reports to show that the investment must be working because so many people are seeing it.

These marketing managers would do well to take on Plato’s advice, especially in the B2B space. Placing these ads where they will simply get the most traffic works well for mass consumer goods, but not for highly targeted industries. They need to be seen by the right people in the right stage of the buying cycle.

We offer three questions to consider when deciding on where to place digital advertising.

  1. How targeted is the web site?

In the B2B space, finding a targeted web site needs to be the very first factor to consider. These need to be relevant to the industry, and of high quality so that they offer true engagement with potential clients. Most often, these channels are found in leading multi-platform B2B publications. These publications produce websites, newsletters, and print magazines that are actively sought out by decision-makers.

  1. How reputable is the publication?

When you place an ad, you are associating your brand with a publication. For this reason it’s critical to choose one with a strong reputation in the industry. The publishing world is vast, so look for companies with a good portfolio of publications that utilise multiple platforms to engage with their chosen industries.

The best B2B publishers will not use a CPM pricing model. Quality industry publications focus on connecting you with your ideal client, rather than a vast audience. Fixed-term pricing on limited ad spaces allows publications to properly resource their staff, and in turn, produce high-quality, relevant content. A pricing model reliant on traffic to generate income will inevitably lead to either poorly resourced web sites, or sites full of “click bait” to get as many views as possible.

  1. How much traffic does it get?

It is worth understanding how much traffic a web site gets, and compare it to industry averages. Reputable publications will have steady web traffic, a good print subscription list, and a quality electronic newsletter mailing list. Some web traffic should come from newsletters that are directing qualified and interested leads to the site.

Because Plato wasn’t born in the digital age, we can forgive him that he is now a bit off the mark. A good decision today needs to be based on both numbers and knowledge.