Traditional media metrics are just that. Traditional. Time for new metrics!

First of all, existing media metrics were introduced decades ago when traditional media such as TV, radio, and magazines were the main mediums for advertising.   Reach, frequency, GRP, and CPM are still used in the way that they were first introduced and used – imagine how ineffective the may be now!  In recent years new media has broadened the advertising medium landscape and there are many more options for advertising placement. There have been no updates to these aforementioned traditional media metrics, but new media have been added and the metrics simply do not function in the same way as they would in traditional media.

Reach and frequency metrics are also problematic because they are only an estimate of exposure opportunities, not an actual calculation of message exposures to target audiences.  These calculations are then multiplied to give you an estimated Gross Rating Point for a campaign; however, GRP is nevertheless only an estimate and not an actual total amount of exposures.  Although it is important to have a good idea of how many exposures and the amount of reach a campaign can have, it is increasingly important to understand the reality of the situation. Since media has fragmented exponentially and multi-tasking has soared in the past few years, it is hard to know exactly how many of a target audience actually consumed a message for a product/service.  In reality, there are multiple screens and mediums in our lives from day-in and day-out, so it is increasingly harder to determine when consumers tune out one and tune into another.

Impressions are also a weak media metric because they do not consider important aspects of online activity.  This particular media metric only counts the amount of times that an online page is viewed with a certain ad on it.  It does not take into consideration the amount of time a person stayed on a web page, if the user actually viewed the ad or if it was just a hit and they left the page immediately after it loaded, or multiple page views by one user.   The previous mentioned problems hinder the usefulness of traditional media metrics and do not allow for accurate measuring; thus they are futile ways to determine the effectiveness of a campaign.

As mentioned above, the traditional media metrics were not developed for measuring new media such as online and mobile. Thus, reach, frequency, GRP and CPM cannot be used on the Internet.  Impressions can be used for the Internet; however they are not an effective measurement as demonstrated previously.   Reach, frequency, and GRP are not effective for Internet measurement because the Internet is extremely fragmented and it does not measure the actual amount of times an audience has been exposed to a message. One must consider the amount of time a person spends on a page or if the page was just uploaded and immediately left before viewing anything on the page, and the actual conversion rate for the ad.  CPM is also an ineffective measurement for Internet audience because you are charged for impressions even if your target audience did not view the ad.  Banner blindness, a phenomenon where visitors to a web page ignore ads, hinders the measurement of CPM and impressions.  All of the metrics were simply not developed for new media use and therefore do not give accurate portrayals of the effectiveness of a campaign.  Time for innovation in the metric world!!