Cost-Per-Action Advertising Evolves Quickly
It hit me recently just how much my business – cost-per-action advertising – has changed over the last five years.
The principle remains the same: A cost-per-action (CPA) ad agency such as Higher Power Marketing has relationships with media outlets across the country and access to their unsold inventory of ad time or space. It fills voids with its clients’ ads. Clients aren’t billed for the ad placements; rather, they pay based upon the number and/or quality of responses.
This emphasis on results appeals to clients who care about how well their advertising works, not necessarily when or where it runs, and who want to establish a stable cost per lead within their business plan. The client makes money; the station makes money; and we make money. Everybody wins.
What’s changed so dramatically is the type of media we can offer clients. Five years ago, we specialized in radio, television, print, billboards, movie theaters and a little Internet.
Today we do nothing with billboards and movie screens, and print is not nearly as prevalent as it once was – except where we’re able to access the periodical’s online presence. Radio and TV are still very effective, but we’re also exploiting many mobile advertising opportunities available to us, such as audio, video, banners and mobile search engines, to name a few – plus interactive television (aka iTV). Advancing call-transfer technology enables us to pair the right consumer with the right client offer – very one-on-one oriented!
The evolution has been staggering; it’s more like a revolution. The application of technology changes the game every day. Where it was common practice to accept subjective, information-based leads, HPM has used advancements in technology to literally change the playing field. Now more than 95 percent of all lead-generation offers are based upon a realistic length of call that should allow clients to get the information they need or, minimally, weed out unqualified callers.
As a result, we’ve had to modify our basic terminology. We used to call our approach per-inquiry (PI), pay-per-lead (PPL) or direct-response (DR) advertising – which emphasized the quantity of responses. Now we use CPA, which factors in the quality.
So how do we manage all this change? By employing the same strategy that got us through college: “Take it one day at a time.” At HPM, we constantly evaluate emerging media to determine if they offer opportunities for our clients. Individual clients don’t have time to do this – they’re busy running their businesses. Understanding the breadth of media options enables us to match a client’s needs with the most appropriate type of media, whether it is cutting edge or old school.