The fact that dollar value is created from experiential marketing impressions isn’t in dispute. Counting and valuing these impressions is the hard part. PortMA has been tackling this challenge for some time now.
The basic premise we use is that any impression’s value is equal to what it would have cost to buy that same impression via another media channel. This is known as an Ad Value Equivalence (AVE) modeling of media value. The AVE model allows you to include the value of impressions in an overall campaign’s return-on-investment (ROI) and is really a core part of any ROI modeling exercise. The AVE is often a tiny percentage of the overall campaign value, but if you found yourself in the news cycle or had a pop start caught holding the brand on camera, it can quickly spike.
Using an Average CPM to Estimate Impression Value
At the heart of the AVE, the model is the cost of media buys. Media impressions are bought and sold as a CPM or “cost per thousand,” so we estimate the typical CPM for a brand team (or typical cost per 1,000 impressions purchased). Unless we receive direction otherwise, we estimate the average CPM for a brand at $12 or $0.012 per impression. We estimate this $12 based on a rough median for different types of media buys (i.e., $22 for in-store floor graphics, $3 for online banner ads, $15 for direct mail, $7 for FSI, etc.). We start with this estimate of a $12 CPM and adjust it if the brand team provided any direction around a different average CPM.
Generating an Event Marketing Impression Value
It all comes together with relatively simple math. Let’s take, for example, a campaign that generated 10,000 impressions. To derive the dollar value of these impressions, we estimate what it would have cost to buy those 10,000 impressions targeting a similar demographic through print, TV, in-store, online, etc. (The goal is to choose a channel that the brand uses or an estimate across all channels.) Using an estimated $12 CPM allows us to estimate that those 10,000 impressions were worth $120 to the brand simply because that would have cost to buy the same level of exposure through an alternative channel.
How this method is actionable
We measured a spring break event marketing campaign last year that was limping along. The event set was on the fringe of all the action, and things moved along as expected. Impressions were coming in at a predictable and boring 10 to 15 thousand a week. Then MTV did a break-out piece that caught the event set branding in the background. The impression count quickly shot into the millions. At a value of $12,000 per million, this exposure quickly came into focus and played a key role in the brand team’s planning for this year’s activation.
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CALCULATE THE DOLLAR VALUE OF EVENT IMPRESSIONS
PortMA Impression Counting and Valuation Worksheet
Download this spreadsheet and complete the fields for your campaign to get a clear count of your activation impressions translated into a dollar value.