It's 2008; where's my metric beyond clickthrough and viewthrough? I cannot believe that we are still trying to justify the concept of viewthrough, and that we have not developed something better that has become an industry standard.
As if the exposure of an ad has no relevance to your business? Does that mean that all of print advertising and outdoor cannot possibly be effective because you cannot tell who clicked on it?
But it's not whether you use clickthrough/viewthrough, it's how you incorporate those metrics that's important. Remember, the whole idea is to more accurately know what the impact of your ad spend is.
If your view is that clickthrough/viewthrough should not be incorporated into your thinking, then you don't know squat about analytics, or advertising.
Let me explain the three core issues that have caused most businesses to fail when incorporating those metrics.
- The cookie window. Each ad can have a cookie set. You can see whether someone has an "opportunity" to view your ad and then whether that computer visits your site afterwards. The window that can be set by that cookie is variable. Do you want to track that for a day? A week? A month? A year? All up to you, and that is where most of the first errors occur. If you don't set your cookie window correctly for your business, and know how to derive the proper information from your analytics, you'll be gathering data and just as quickly wasting it.
- Viewthrough is not a causal relationship. Just because you delivered an ad to someone does not mean that they noticed it. They had the "opportunity" to notice it. But this is exactly the same as what print and outdoor offers -- that "opportunity." You cannot be certain that the ad caused the traffic. You can only infer that it could have had an effect.
- The last cookie wins. Every cookie set by one of your ads replaces every other cookie set. If you are using viewthrough and just want to increase your metrics, all you have to do is deliver one ad to as many people as possible in your potential target; instant great metrics that rarely translate into business results. The sites and networks which optimize will do just that, optimize; increasing the perceived metric. Driving numbers for numbers sake but without tying it to business performance. This is where the second errors occur, and where most programs run into "We tested viewthrough and it doesn't work." The other major issue with making the last cookie the winner is that the last ad is the only one that gets credit. If viewthrough does have a cumulative effect, then you are ignoring it. This will cause you to make creative decisions based on faulty interpretations of data.
I will attack these three points and how they can all work together, and then discuss a formulaic approach to your online advertising to solve for this click/view world.
What you are all trying to get at is the impact of your advertising and, more concretely, how to attribute the contribution of online to your overall business. You do not have to do a single thing I say here. It's all about weighing the benefits of knowing that impact. There are many business models in which operating on a direct response click model is sufficient and the resources are not available to do otherwise. Regardless, you should understand the impact of the rest of those impressions.
Next page >>