Impression

What is an impression in TV Advertising?

An impression is a metric that advertisers use to quantify the number of views an ad has achieved when being served to a target audience in a TV ad spot. Depending on the number of impressions a piece of ad content has achieved, the TV CPM trends (cost-per-impression) may be higher or lower, indicating the performance of the ad. The more impressions an ad achieves, the greater bang for your buck from the ad sale. This is used as an indicator, in ad metrics, of profitability from a campaign, whose dollars spent stretch further the more eyes are on the ad.

While impressions are considered a baseline metric for media measurement on ad performance, they should be viewed as only a predictor of direct sales revenue, rather than a direct measurement of it. While we cannot ensure how many eyes were on the screen when an ad aired, higher impressions increase the likelihood that more people viewed the ad, and thus increases the likelihood of more purchases. Two tactics to increase impressions include widening or expanding reach and increasing frequency.

A partnership with an advanced data provider can allow an advertiser to track the pathways of a viewer, from impression to purchase, directly relating ad effectiveness to earned revenue. Many advertisers employ a TV buying platform that has partnerships with these data providers. These platforms can then gather reports that prove the effectiveness of the ad against predictions and help the brand strategize and retarget in bringing the ad to scale.

Traditionally, delivering the same number of gross rating points (GRPs) at a lower CPM was considered the gold standard marker of a successful ad campaign. But the picture is much more complex if you’d like to make sure your ad dollars are spent wisely and with the greatest cost-efficiency as possible.

The average American household has access to over 200 linear TV channels. In addition, there are over 200 connected TV (CTV) streaming services in the market. According to a 2021 study commissioned by Comcast, 70% of U.S. households with at least one streaming subscription also still subscribe to linear (and that may not even account for the proliferation of free ad-supported streaming services, many of which can be accessed without a subscription). This means that cross-channel – linear and CTV – targeting is key to ensuring your target audience sees your ad spots.

But with all of the opportunity to reach households on various platforms, how does an advertiser ensure their ad doesn’t fall flat?

At Simulmedia, one answer lies in relying on reach over frequency when measuring impressions. Our research has found that while most viewers have access to several devices, platforms and channels, most people only watch a narrow set of networks and programs, which we call “fragmentation” in the advertising industry.

With our TV+® platform for planning, buying and measurement cross-channel TV, and our partnerships with data-driven, media measurement companies like Experian and LiveRamp, Simulmedia can pinpoint which audiences are viewing where, so your advertisement hits where the eyeballs actually are, and ensure that frequency doesn’t overwhelm any given viewer. While impressions are a key measurement in any ad campaign, eliminating unnecessary frequency and instead re-allocating those ad dollars towards increasing reach is one way to make your impressions more valuable.