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Measuring Online Display Advertising

Measuring Online Display Advertising Leslie Van Zee
As online display advertising becomes more popular with small business, measuring campaign success becomes more challenging.  It would be easier if click-through-rates told all that is needed to know about how well display ads work.  But studies such as this oft-cited report by comScore propose that clicks aren't really what matter most.

Sales teams for web advertising that have concentrated almost solely on click-through rates as the most authoritative measurement of achievement in online display advertising have caused grievous damage to the industry of digital publishing. Agencies, advertisers and publishers should consider a broader scope of options than just click-through methods when striving for online marketing campaign success.

For more than a decade, advertisers have believed the Internet to be highly measurable. Because of this, many marketers have become attached to the idea of performance-based metrics while neglecting other success benchmarks. Unfortunately, it prevents companies from getting the most out of their ROI.

Click-through information has long been considered a silver bullet by web marketers, who typically wish to measure the returns they get on advertising in order to justify how much they spend on their ad campaigns. Because of this, many of them have disregarded how other metrics could benefit them.

Although money spent on media is measurable, more traditional forms of media are tedious to keep track of. For a long time, marketers made use of certain data to condone their overall costs.

In the world of online business, most of these methods have been abandoned in favor of click-through advertising. This is because many online display publishers and representatives aren't capable of determining the metrics of their brand awareness to advertisers, but they have no problems keeping track of participation.

Display advertising is underestimated as a means of brand-building. Therefore, many advertisers don't end up using the correct measurement techniques to keep track of the effects of their brand awareness.

Nearly everyone demands data, but not many marketers want to pay for it or start the process that will make them an example. As a result, people continue to be obsessed with performance metrics and struggle with a poor understanding of the true impact of display ads.

Some tools available from Effective Measure or Nielsen are able to measure the success of display inventory campaigns, but like all useful research, they're costly. This means that smaller, local brands miss the opportunity to learn how their online display can affect consumer awareness.

But even local business owners have resources to monitor how their customers are receiving their display advertising.  The big advantage they have over national brands is they tend to have closer, more personal relationships with their customer base.  This can be used to probe for campaign awareness by consistently including questions of how the customer found them, have they seen the ads, etc.

There are other metrics that are important to display advertising. These include view-throughs, conversions, and engagement. As pointed out by Vantage Local, specialists in display advertising for local businesses, understanding what these mean is important but keeping it simple is also key to monitoring success.

Do you have additional ideas on how small advertisers can keep their finger on the pulse of their brand?

Leslie Van Zee is passionate about entrepreneurship and understanding what makes small businesses successful.  An avid fan of lean startups, she makes sure to get out of the building as much as possible in her role as manager of marketing...

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