By now you’d think advertisers would realize cheaper isn’t always better when it comes to digital media. Cheap, meaning the lowest possible CPM, carries risks like ad fraud and controversial content placement. Despite these perils brands still feel the pull towards raw cost savings. Why is this still happening?
In a Mumbrella interview UM Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Joshua Lowcock explains the safety vs. cost paradox in an interesting way. “If I give a 1-10 scale – 1 is very conservative and 10 is not caring where your ad goes – and a client says I want the price of 10 and the brand safety of a 1, [they need to know] they’re mutually exclusive.” In other words, you can’t have both safe and cheap at the same time.
So why do clients develop this have it all mindset in the first place? It goes all the way back to the pitch process agencies use to win business in the first place. Almost every agency highlights cost efficiency as a deliverable, because what client would choose to spend more instead of less for their marketing? So brands select agencies as their AORs with the expectation of cheap, and then agency investment teams must resort to buying less safe media in order to “price to the pitch”.
It’s a wicked cycle that self-perpetuates and degrades the entire digital media industry. It’s probably also a big reason why ad networks, the purveyors of all things cheap media, are still in business.