I’m not sure how appropriate the title to an R.E.M. song is to this column, but I needed a title. It’s the first thing that came to mind. Now, I can’t get the song out of my head.

Actually, I should be asking, “What’s the frequency, Young-Bean Song?” Song is director of analytics for Atlas DMT. I spoke with Song, who believes his company has come up with a way to help online advertisers make the most of their impression delivery to maximize conversion rates and cost per acquisition.

Optimal frequency has been considered from a branding perspective by companies such as Dynamic Logic and Insight Express. However, there hasn’t been a lot of research on optimal frequency for online direct response campaigns.

Atlas looked at 38 advertiser campaigns across multiple categories. It found a large percentage of impressions go to users who are only exposed to the message a single time. A smaller percentage of impressions go to users exposed to the message two times, and so on. Finally, when you get to users who are exposed 11-plus times, there’s a significant increase.

Frequency Distribution Graph

I think we can agree users who see an ad once or twice are underexposed, users who see it nine or more times are overexposed. What if we could take those “wasted” impressions and either increase frequency against the underexposed users or reach completely new users?

Atlas did the math and found by implementing a “sensible” frequency cap, an advertiser can lower its cost per acquisition 10 to 30 percent.

Another issue the study considered was conversion rates at different frequency levels. Overall, Atlas found conversion rates are higher at lower frequency levels. In fact, the highest conversion rates occur on the first impression. The second and third impressions also garnered respectable conversion rates.

Could we cap our campaigns at one impression to achieve the highest conversion rates? Yes. Should we? I don’t think so. We must also consider volume. Capping frequency at one would result in fewer overall conversions.

The study also compared the most effective frequency with the most profitable frequency. We must define a cost per acquisition at which our clients still make a profit and raise the frequency cap to reach those users who won’t convert on the first impression. The right frequency cap for your client may be three or five impressions. You’ll have to determine that based on your strategies, target audiences, media costs, and cost-per-acquisition goals.

What does this mean for you? It’s a no-brainer. Conducting your own optimal frequency study is a way to reduce waste, reach more prospects, increase conversion rates, and maximize total acquisitions.

What does it mean for publishers? In talking with Song, my first thought was publishers would hate this. Implementation will wreak havoc on their inventory management. Users who are currently exposed to 11 or more impressions on a single campaign are the site’s lifeblood. Those are the users who enable publishers to promise you millions of page views and, thus, millions of impressions. If you cap the frequency at, say, three, publishers will have to find a few more advertisers to sell the same number of impressions they’re selling today.

Song suggests a frequency cap would allow publishers to charge a premium for those more valuable impressions. Though I agree premiums would be in order, it’s going to be a tough sell. The premiums publishers will want to charge to make up for unsold inventory could be unattractive to advertisers. The good thing is we now have a model to test against to find out if this works for our clients.


A very small sample of the work.

  • THANK YOU! remi woooaaa #

love and water

Now is the time to do it!

Marketing. After the election things will pick up and is the time to get new people in for the Christmas season.
Email newsletters, postcards to all clients with referral promotions, wine and cheese events, products and services promotions, ads. Let me know what is your business and I will give you some fresh marketing ideas!

About the water crystal above…

  • Reading: “Ship webcams | Greenpeace International” (http://tinyurl.com/572cfc) #
  • Reading: “YouTube – Highlights: Barack’s Closing Argument for Change” (http://tinyurl.com/6zlo9f) #

what do you think?

  • Reading: “Obama Tax Calculator” (http://tinyurl.com/4bdp5r) #
  • Reading: “Obama Rally Draws 100,000 in Missouri” (http://tinyurl.com/5w8jc9) #
  • President Obama! #
  • Reading: “Poll: Obama gains in key swing counties – Alexander Burns – Politico.com” (http://tinyurl.com/6n2vup) #
  • Reading: “Palin Debate Flow Chart” (http://tinyurl.com/56sjul) #
  • I’m at Flipnotics Coffeespace (1601 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, USA) – http://bkite.com/01U9k #
  • Reading: “Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama” (http://tinyurl.com/6a8kva) #
  • At: “vote now in TX! Finding my Polling Place” (http://tinyurl.com/2v8z93) #
  • designing new business cards! – http://bkite.com/01U4r #
  • I’m at Oak Hill, TX (Oak Hill, TX, USA) – http://bkite.com/01U3X #

Bill Moyers sits down with Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, to discuss what direction the U.S. should pursue in the often-overlooked question of food policy.  Pollan is author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

video part I

[quicktime]http://feeds.pbs.org/~r/pbs/moyers/journal-video/~5/468927384/pollan1.m4v[/quicktime]

Sign a petition for Pollan to consider the Secretary of Agriculture position.

and you can visit the website pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.org

Bill Moyers sits down with Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, to discuss what direction the U.S. should pursue in the often-overlooked question of food policy.  Pollan is author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

video part II

[quicktime]http://feeds.pbs.org/~r/pbs/moyers/journal-video/~5/468927386/pollan2.m4v[/quicktime]

Sign a petition for Pollan to consider the Secretary of Agriculture position.

and you can visit the website pollanforsecretaryofagriculture.org

The main purpose of using neutral density (i.e., ND) filters is to reduce the amount of light that can pass through the lens. As a result, if a shutter speed is kept the same, after adding a neutral density filter, a larger aperture must be used to obtain the same exposure. Similarly, if an aperture is kept the same, after adding a neutral density filter, a slower shutter speed must be used to obtain the same exposure. This can be seen in the following diagram. Note that this diagram was discussed in the Program Mode (950, 990 and 995).

Recall that the thick red line indicates a constant exposure value (i.e., EV). To achieve this “correct” exposure, there are many different aperture-shutter speed combinations. After adding a ND filter, the exposure value is reduced because there is less light passing through the lens. This is shown as a dashed line in the above figure. Thus, if we want to keep the original shutter speed (without using a ND filter), aperture has to be wider; or, if we want to keep the original aperture, shutter speed must be slower.

Different ND filter manufacture many use a different way to indicate the amount of light a ND filter can reduce. There are two typical systems as shown below:

Density 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0
Reduction
by f-stops
1/3 2/3 1 1 1/3 1 2/3 2 2 1/3 2 2/3 3 3 1/3 6 2/3 10 13 1/3

For example, Tiffen and B+W have 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 ND filters for reducing one, two and three stops of light. Hoya, on the other hand, uses 2×, 4× and 8× to indicate reducing 1 (i.e. 2=21), 2 (i.e., 4=22), and 3 (i.e., 8=23) stops.

All ND filters are gray in color. The deeper the color, the stronger the effect (i.e., reducing more light). The following shows Nikon’s ND4 (font) and ND8 (rear) filters. From the shadows, it is clear that a ND8 blocks more light than a ND4 does.

Based on this understanding, ND filters help us in at least three situations: (1) reduce the intensity of light; (2) use slower shutter speed; and (3) use larger aperture.

Using Slower Shutter Speed

Reducing the intensity of light means we can either use a slower shutter speed or a larger aperture. A slower shutter speed can cause moving objects blurred (i.e., motion blur) which creates a sense of motion. The following images were taken using the Aperture-Priority Mode. The aperture was set to F2.8, the largest possible aperture, so that shutter speed can be reduced properly. The left image below was taken without a ND filter, and, as you can see, the truck (running about 40 miles) is frozen. Motion blur becomes even more significant if ND8 is used (right image below) which reduces the shutter speed to 1/8 of that used for the left image.

Without ND With ND filter

Using Larger Aperture

Since ND filters reduce the amount of light that can pass through the lens tube, they can be used to open up the aperture while keep the shutter speed the same. Keep in mind that a larger aperture produces a shallower Depth of Field. The following images were all taken with the same shutter speed. Using the ND filter reduces the aperture. Now the subject is well isolated from the background, and it shows a better sense of distance.

Without ND With ND filter
1/160 @ f8 1/160 @ f4
1/125 @ f14 1/125 @ f5.6