I will carefully not mention the many fast growing companies of the early 2000s that swiped millions of dollars from the real estate industry.  But there were plenty and some of them are sitll around thanks for the way they entended thier theftdom to the public stock market.

I find it interesting that these same individuals are still respected around industry events – you would think that the calvary would have run them out of town or held a public hanging (metaphorically, of course).

Ok, so having said that… here is my wisdom of the day for online advertising.

Impressions – forget about it – who cares who sees you online – you only care about who sees you online and buys something.

Replace with CPTM – now we are getting somewhere – “cost per thousand targeted” – ad impressions implying that the audience you’re selling is targeted to particular demographics.

Pay Per Click – forget about this too.  You need traffic with conversion.

Replace with CPA – cost per action – pay when you convert a visitor by getting them to register to your site, inquire about a listing, or request a showing.  The extreme version of this is CPS or Cost Per Sale and the popular version is CPL – cost per lead.

Sidebar:  Ken Jenny hits the nail on the head when he scorns the word “lead.”  If you have been around the industry, you know the following:  when someone calls from an ad it is called an “ad call.”  When someone calls from a sign it is called a “sign call.”  Why is it called a LEAD when someone e-mails you from a website??????  Lets call it what it is, a “web call.”

Sidebar 2:  Am I the only one who is 2 seconds away from cancelling Inman News because of the obnoxious pop up ad (technically called an interstitial) that hits you when you go to read an article from the newsletter?


Seek Proof of Performance – Some advertisers may want proof that the ads they’ve bought have actually run and that clickthrough figures are accurate. In print media, tearsheets taken from a publication prove that an ad was run. On the Web, there is no industry-wide practice for proof of performance. Some buyers rely on the integrity of the media broker and the Web site. The ad buyer usually checks the Web site to determine the ads are actually running. Most buyers require weekly figures during a campaign. A few want to look directly at the figures, viewing the ad server or Web site reporting tool.  You can also look at your webstats to see the click-throughs from that website.  Here is a “for instance.”  We have a client that pays $20,000 per year to REALTOR.com but only gets 19 clicks to their website per week.  That is $384 per week in advertising yielding a CPC or cost per click of $20 per web visitor (compare to Google at $1 to $2 for the same targeted traffic).

If you really want to have a good time, ask the next online ad salesperson about these processes of paying for online advertising – they will quickly duck tail and run.