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Making It All Add Up: Measuring and Scaling for Success

Making It All Add Up: Measuring and Scaling for Success Peter Crofut
Our series thus far has focused on how brands can create and deploy effective advertising campaigns across multiple formats. With brands now infusing data into their creative content and consumers viewing the content across multiple screens, there’s a plethora of data streaming in from various places. Equally as important as creating those compelling campaigns is leveraging the proper measurement and scaling tactics to gain meaningful insights following the launch. This article will focus on how to add up all of these components, it will offer insight on the importance of measuring and scaling for success, and it will describe the tools that are available to create lasting content.

The Key to Measurement

Get the Full Picture With an Integrated Platform

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of an integrated platform for creativity, reach and relevance, but measurement is at the crux of how integrated platforms can help marketers create better campaigns. An integrated platform enables you to collect and store all customer and campaign data in a single place, rather than having to connect disparate systems, greatly reducing the likelihood of duplicates and errors. Housing your ad server, programmatic buying engine, rich media creation tools and search tools all in the same place means that every tool in your arsenal can learn from the same set of data, and optimize against that data. For example, you can optimize your ad creative against the audience signals you’re targeting to show a relevant ad to the person viewing that ad; this is possible because your ad server and rich media provider have access to the same data that your media targeting and buying engine has.

An integrated platform also ensures that no data will be lost when passed between products. Otherwise, the process turns into a game of telephone, where each transmission can potentially distort the message in one way or another. If each product can share data from the same original source, then the data used will be much more accurate.

Beyond the Click: The Power of Engagement Metrics

Standard banners are limited to two types of metrics: the impression (i.e., did the consumer see my ad) and the click-through (i.e. did the consumer click on my ad and reach my website; CTR is the key metric for direct response campaigns.) However, studies have shown that while click-through is still a relevant metric, brand advertisers need to incorporate other metrics into their arsenal in order to fully measure brand awareness. Engagement metrics serve this need, sitting as a layer between the impression and the click.

As such, there are new types of metrics that are more complete indications of users’ interest, factoring in elements like view time, video completion rate, hover time, expand rate and interaction rate/time. Engagement metrics provide a way to understand what a person does on an ad, before or even without them clicking through to the website. By leveraging these types of metrics, it’s possible to gauge authentic engagement and future behavior, creating a better experience for the user.

Interaction time has increased from 9.5 seconds to 11.8 seconds in the past year alone, a 25 percent jump, according to DoubleClick's display benchmarks tool. There’s no doubt that people are spending more time interacting with ads, and the fact that we can now measure it effectively is extremely powerful for understanding how to improve the overall ad experience in the future.

Scaling for Success

Get more mileage from your creative assets

Scalable rich media formats allow you to extend the lifecycle of existing creative assets to expand the life of your investment. With these formats, you can plug in your existing creative assets, hit publish and have many new rich media ad creatives ready to run across the web. For example, you can re-purpose a 30 second TV commercial video asset by plugging it into an HTML5 Studio Layout so the very same spot can run on desktop, mobile and tablet devices. Samsung is a great example of a company that scales their content to ensure their TV creative can be re-purposed for channels like YouTube across the Web, extending the life of their creative and, ultimately, their investment. With HTML5, not only is your production time significantly shorter, you are reaching a wider audience and optimizing levels of engagement with your content.

Utilizing dynamic creative allows you to develop thousands of creative variations on the fly, relying on an algorithm that recombines your creative elements into many different activations. On an integrated platform, the algorithm-based creative coexists with the rest of the ad components, ensuring intelligent and automatic optimization across platforms. Scaling eliminates the need to manually create individual ads and increases overall engagements across platform. However, while scale helps get more mileage out of existing assets, it doesn’t have to lead to less creativity or innovation within that ad. Dynamic creative isn’t trying to eliminate the storytelling process by focusing too much on efficiency and scale, it’s simply offering a technology that brings the assets and stories to life in a more meaningful and impactful way to the consumer. Again, it’s all about taking the work out of creating successful experiences.

In the end, the key to success for so many campaigns is as simple as knowing what to measure and knowing how to scale. Having an integrated platform ensures that data will not be lost when passed between product, greatly reducing the likelihood of duplicates and errors. Being able to centralize data and properly analyze the metrics offers you the right perspective on what is working, and building the ads with the right technology - namely HTML5 and dynamic creative - enables you to expand the life of your creative.

So, next time you begin a campaign, ask yourself these two questions: am I actually measuring what matters? And am I preparing to scale for success? If you can answer yes to both those questions, then away you go!

As head of Google's creative platforms solutions, Peter Crofut is a 15-year veteran of display who oversees Google's creative platforms strategy and the team of specialists focusing on helping the creative agency community leverage...

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