I’ve been a big advocate for the measurement of quality not just quantity. As quantifiable as online advertising is, I think the whole industry has gotten a bit ahead of itself sometimes in “over-quantifying” at the expense of reviewing quality. Like any brand or item one purchases (and media is no exception), there is a time to pay for quality. See this Advertising Age article on CPM erosion (and my comment posted in the comments section of the article, but also placed below for easy reference).
This quality vs. quantity differentiation is incredibly important. Premium publishers, many of whom spent hundreds of years and hundreds of millions of dollars building their brands and readers trust need to maintain a rate that reflects the quality of their audience. The problem with “data driven” quantitative-only analysis, is the classic “garbage in garbage out” problem. Great, you got 17,000 registrants, but how many where “Mickey Mouse” and/or simply an unqualified prospect? The Internet did itself a great disservice when moving away from CPMs towards CPA/CPL deals. When the incentive is on a “form completion”, garbage in — is often the result. The onus of success cannot be placed entirely on the publisher, but all parties – publisher, ad network, agency and client have a role and responsibility to fulfill in order to succeed. The publish must attract the right quality audience, the network needs to target effectively, the agency needs to produce good engaging on message creative, and the client must have a good product at a fair price. We all have a role, and the shift from CPM towards CPA is an unfair shift of responsbility — in the end no one wins since the true costs of CPA/CPL deals are not fully realized until much later after millions in CRM follow-up (mailing costs, etc..) have been wasted and bad database records removed. R.J. Lewis e-Healthcare Solutions –EWING, NJ