Not long ago, I had a client say something really interesting. He said, “We need to make sure everything we can in our campaign to turn every one impression we buy into 10 actually being delivered — that is my challenge to you.” Of course, we’re always doing that anyway. Added-value no cost or super low cost impressions generally improve the metrics of what we actually optimize against — things like cost per action (define), cost per sale, etc.
So, I decided to list some tactics we employ to beef up the impressions we were able to generate without having to actually buy them (or at least list them as having a cost, i.e., value-added placements.) Some are easy, some are hard, and some may require an awful lot of client side buy-in, implementation, or participation. But these days, clients are much more open to difficult ideas and logistics if they have a chance to improve the success of a campaign.
Value-added placements: First and foremost, when doing a buy, ask for value-added placements. (I know this is obvious, but I still see plans from clients’ past agencies that don’t list any.) Go beyond just getting more run-of-site (ROS) banners. There are high-volume placements like text links, text-based e-mail newsletter ads, buttons, and advertorials that complement premium placements very nicely. They not only add impression volume, but boost click volume and the top-line performance of a property, often saving it from cancellation.
Offline to online value-added placements: This is another often overlooked nugget. Make a list of the offline deals being cut in print, broadcast, and radio. Nine times out of 10, those buys come with a ton of online value-added placements that you would have never really considered paying for in your online plan. Many organizations offer bundled deals, but for the most part, there’s a lot of online juice to be had here for zero cost — and zero cost impressions and resulting clicks and actions help the top line metrics of any report quite nicely.
Tweet this: Put a call to action based on a chiclet (define) in your banner that gets people to tweet the deal you’re promoting. If even a tiny fraction of the people who see it, tweet it, that could equate into thousands or even millions of added impressions and clicks. You can track the tweets by monitoring Twitter search, and track clicks and actions from this by using a bit.ly tracking URL in your tweet that jumps through your ad server tracking URL. If you have Radian6, or write a quick little script, you can also add up the additional impressions/tweets you got by totaling the followers of the people who tweeted your message.