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For those of us who moved from the traditional media world into digital, the term “Added Value” is very familiar.  Essentially, what are you going to give the client for free in order to earn their business for the next month/quarter/year, or, if it’s coming from the agency, the buy for the next week/month/quarter?

Media sellers without imagination (or lucky enough to have plenty of extra inventory!) answered that question with bonus spots or open day-parted “run of schedule” ads.  In radio, we worked hard to get the promotions department excited about our agency’s clients, so that our buys could be secured with promotional tie-ins.  Some of my favorite memories were from the promotions director’s office trying to explain why our Top 40 listeners were going to fall over themselves to win free tickets to the Renaissance Fair coming to town or why my car dealership client is the perfect venue for that DJ appearance on Saturday morning at 9am.

Here in the performance marketing space, it would seem that there is little room for added value, as every dollar spent must be tracked back to a CPA or ROI.  Basically, what we are told by e-commerce departments is that every impression that is served that doesn’t result in a sale isn’t worth anything.  (We’ll table the view-through/post-impression debate in regards to “wasted” impressions for today…)

So what is the value of all the impressions served then?  As a media platform, we have to serve X impressions to deliver Y conversions, and the higher the commission per conversion, the more ads we can afford to serve in order to still make money on each sale.  If 6-10% of the impressions we serve result in a return visit, click and/or sale, then what happens to the other 90% of impressions?

With proper frequency capping, these impressions should have significant value to brands.  And if you are a brick-and-mortar retailer, then these impressions are even more valuable.

To me, this is your “Added Value” in performance marketing.  All of those ad impressions continue to build your brand equity with your prospects and customers, even if they don’t immediately act on those impressions.  Plus, these impressions come “free of charge” with all paid conversions on CPA or Rev-Share campaigns.

And if you’re incentivizing your retargeting partner (or partners) to serve as many ads as possible in the hopes of gathering the limited proportion of click-only conversions (8% of internet users account for 85% of display ad clicks), then you are wasting your added value.  Overpowering prospects with ads can only result in brand fatigue and leave your consumers asking the question “Why is (insert your company here) following me around all the time??”

What is your take?  How do you view your retargeting impressions in regards to branding?