When does advertising pay? Apparently, we're getting closer to knowing courtesy of Microsoft.

The advancement from paying for eyeballs (CPM – cost per thousand times an ad is shown) to paying for click-throughs (CPC – cost per click), appeared at the time to be the ad industry’s nirvana. And then came click-fraud and CPA.

Now if only ‘A’ stood for Acquisition, then we could all go home. Pay £1 ad cost every time you acquire a new customer for your new £50 gizmo (ie, a sale), and advertising becomes a predictable and precisely quantified cost of sale. In this instance, 2% exactly; not 1.9% nor 2.1%.

But that ‘A’ means Action, and that Action may be an acquisition, but more generally it refers to getting a prospect to fill out a form, leave their contact details, sign up for a newsletter, etc. Mmmm, still as much an art as a science then. Read more