Digital “Wins”…with Highest Cost Per Impression

video-adsWant to spend lots and get not much in return? Digital video ads may be just the thing you’re looking for.

Something fascinating is happening online these days. The clamor for digital video ad space is driving up the cost of these ads. That might be okay if the return justified the cost, but it looks like that is not the case.

“A study from Nielsen Catalina Solutions reveals that—when pitted against TV, digital display, video, mobile and cross-media campaigns—magazines delivered the highest return,” writes Clare Lane in Ragan, referring to the study we covered last week in a post about print’s 4:1 ROI.

“As many marketers continue to set their sights—and budgets—on video, the study delivers some heartbreaking news: Digital video ranked lowest with regards to return,” Lane continues.


The dichotomy here is incredible. Brands are pouring money into digital video because…well…because Facebook told them too? The rampant adoption of video, even in light of dodgy viewership numbers, has caused some to predict that video ads are the next bubble to burst.

Meanwhile, magazine ads have the lowest cost per impression, and the highest rate of return.

“Magazines had the lowest cost per thousand impressions (CPM) in the study, and digital video the highest. Magazine audiences in the study were bolstered by inclusion of secondary audiences—the pass-along readership that occurs everywhere from doctors’ offices to friends’ homes,” writes Jack Neff in Advertising Age.

We’re not about to tell you that video advertising is pointless. Like any channel, it has a time and a place. We do encourage you to think carefully about where you spend your ad dollars before you back the “next big thing.” Unless you like expensive ads that don’t work very well.