The following first appeared on the Brand Republic blog on 23rd June 2011.
Online advertising has come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years. The development of rich media ads has made the creative element more interactive and engaging, and access to greater consumer insight has enabled media buyers to be more strategic with campaign planning. But what does this mean for evaluation? Traditional metrics for measuring success, such as last-click, don’t capture the full value and reach of online campaigns anymore.
The problem with measuring the success of a campaign based on the click-through rate is that it only reflects a tiny fraction of the economic value of online advertising. Yes, of course it is important, but it’s equally as important to look at the wider reach and influence of your campaign. With the rise of rich media adverts, consumers are spending more time engaging with online advertising, activity that isn’t captured in last-click evaluation. Consumers interacting with ads are engaging with your brand, so they may not being making an active purchase at that moment, but they are becoming more familiar with you and will be more likely to search for you by brand name, rather than product type, and purchase from you in the future.
Moving away from a focus on last-click evaluation gives marketers the flexibility to build a more engaging and fluid online campaign, but how do we measure success? A report published by Microsoft, Eyeblaster and ComScore last year looks at what they call ‘Dwell on Branding’*, which focuses on the level of interaction time that consumers have with an advert. The limitation with measuring dwell time is that it is only possible with rich media advertising but as it becomes increasingly popular these techniques will give brands the opportunity to measure the success or influence of rich media campaigns.
Microsoft’s research shows that, over a four week period, those exposed to high dwell campaigns were 39 per cent more likely to use a branded search when they came to purchase a product. What is crucial to recognise here is that online advertising is no longer simply a case of driving a direct response, although of course this is still an important element of any campaign. Online advertising measurement has become more sophisticated and this means we can develop campaigns that build brand awareness, and measure their success more confidently.
Attribution analysis through software like Equi=Media’s Digital Voyage shows post-click and post- impression influence on consumers’ propensity to buy. It isn’t until you blend last click analysis, attribution analysis and rich media dwell time analysis that you begin to get a 3d image of the true value of each element of your advertising online.
Any measurement of success has to take into account this shift in focus for online advertising. While no one has a definitive answer, marketers that don’t start measuring brand engagement and attribution alongside, last click will find themselves falling behind.
[*Dwell on Branding, Microsoft Advertising: http://www.slideshare.net/victori98pt/dwell-on-branding-report-from-microsoft-eyeblaster-and-comscore]