RPVM – the new metric of advertising…or, Pages, not Impressions, are what really matters”.

For years, publishers have been counting impressions. Cost per impression, revenue per impression….it’s what is ultimately bought and sold, so isn’t that where everyone should be focused? Of course it should.

And in this time, publishers continue to face the same challenges as always: too much inventory, not enough revenue. Too many options for monetization, but not a meaningful change in the understanding of what actually sells and why. Publishers have great data…but it doesn’t seem to make a difference in performance or increased pricing (which degrades agency ROI, so it’s counter-intuitive from the start).

But as my uncle Buddy loved to say, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Or said another way, it’s the old definition of insanity: doing something over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

Maybe it’s time for publishers to rethink how they approach their revenue, and instead of thinking about impressions, start thinking about their pages.

Publishers don’t create impressions. They create content (pages), onto which they insert impressions. Consumers read pages. So let’s start with the pages, and talk about the data that exists which may actually be useful. Pages are a summation of traffic source data, referral data, URL data, ad slot data (ad sizes + page + position), and keywords. Pages can be modified, changed, promoted, hidden, and most importantly – understood. Pages tell the story of where a user came from, what was on their mind, what they read, and where they went. Pages can be analyzed across devices, targeted for traffic to increase the site’s visibility where it matters.

Taking this a step further, the new metric that matters should be Revenue Per Thousand Page Views, or RPVM. Publishers should begin to think about their business through the lens of what partners deliver the highest revenue across their pages, and if two partners are delivering different RPVM’s, an easy analysis of what PAGES and URL’s each partner is seeing could easily identify why a partner tends to pay more than another, and therefore the publisher can modify their own content to increase the RPVM, as opposed to just sitting back and hoping a different monetization partner can somehow deliver better revenue on the same exact pages.

Trying to get a different outcome on the same inputs (hoping someone pays more for the same supply) is insanity. But by reframing how publishers look at their inventory, and then modifying pages to actually create more high value content based on data from high value buyers, publishers can stop the madness and start truly making a bottom line impact on their business.