Historically, interactive display advertising has served the singular purpose of supporting direct-response initiatives. This is largely because direct response means there’s a very tangible action to track and measure — making a purchase, filling out a lead-gen form, becoming a member, etc.

Brand advertising, however, involves ambiguous milestones that can be difficult to track and quantify, making traditional display metrics — which are contingent on a two-step action-to-conversion process — inadequate for understanding the impact of brand-focused ads.

Because of the lack of measurable insight into digital branding initiatives and the associated CPM cost structure, brand marketers have historically paired static creative with broad-based media buys.

This “spray and pray” approach to media planning is a natural carryover from 60 years’ worth of TV ad buying, for which performance is measured by impressions. But it is inefficient in today’s digital landscape.

Enter The Engagement Metric

While brand advertisers largely remain loyal to traditional static media, the shift to dynamic display has become a no-brainer for display channels like retargeting. The ability to personalize content based on a user’s first-party data has been proven to significantly improve return and conversion rate. This mass adoption of personalized, interactive media has also led to the innovation of a new metric that utilizes the improved functionality to provide more comprehensive performance insight — Consumer Engagement.

Engagement with a display ad means interacting with its elements – watching video, scrolling through products, viewing different tabs, searching for products, signing up for email, etc. —  all within the ad and without clicking-through to a landing page.

Engagement is the single best metric to measure purchase intent, and is the key to making dynamic media valuable for brand advertising. The increased functionality and creative implementation of modern banner ads enables increased brand engagement, and creates measurable milestones for identifying and influencing consumers’ positions in the brand funnel.

Engaged Consumers Nearly 500% More Likely To Visit The Brand Site

We recently tested the value of measuring engagement for a non-profit client with a goal of raising awareness of a life-threating women’s health issue. By identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) based on the brand’s goals, we were able to track ad engagement to understand the influence ads were having on its audience.

The results showed that people who engaged with ads were 493 percent more likely to visit the organization’s site. Once on the site, they were 24 percent more likely to engage in social sharing and 5 percent more likely to register for site membership.

This campaign gives a glimpse into the potential behind dynamic display as a brand advertising tool. Not only does it facilitate measurable KPIs, but it also empowers advertisers with data they can use to enhance the consumer experience and influence campaign performance.

With the greater understanding of where consumers are in the brand funnel and what previous interactions got them there, advertisers can deliver ads that are personalized with highly relevant and compelling brand content. The implications this has on campaign optimization puts Consumer Engagement in a very strong position to be the future of brand advertising.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Branding | Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Display Advertising Column | Retargeting & Remarketing

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About The Author: is VP of Product Development at mediaFORGE where he is passionate about building innovative client-facing ad products. He brings over 10 years of online experience to the mediaFORGE team. When not thinking of ways to innovate on mediaFORGE’s diverse product suite, Danny likes to cook and spend time making his wife and two sons laugh.



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