More than ever before, the online advertising industry is rife with discussion around optimization metrics. Traditionally, clicks, impressions, and post-impression/post-click conversions have been considered the industry standards for display media performance. But as ad technology grows increasing sophisticated, doesn’t it make sense that campaign optimization and measurement should evolve as well?
In its early stages, online display ads had little more functionality than print ads. What they did offer, in terms of measurement, was the ability to track clicks and to link impressions to conversions. At the time, these metrics added significant value for advertisers and have since become widely adopted as the standard metrics for measuring online campaign success.
Today, online ads are anything but static. Advanced technology facilitates personalized ads that are rich with website-like capabilities, allowing consumers to have an interactive experience without ever leaving the page they’re browsing. What’s more, ad creators can now feature tailored content that matches each individual’s shopping/browsing behavior –- giving consumers a more personalized ad (and branded) experience than any other advertising medium.
Combined, these innovative features not only make ads more noticeable and inviting to consumers, but they empower them to engage with advertisements without committing to a click. Engagement ranges from scrolling through featured products to searching catalog inventory to watching a video. Because all this can be done within the ad, it extends the unique experience of visiting a brand site to properties across the web.
The dynamic features of this new generation of display ads has made them increasingly influential in the conversion process and more capable than ever of attracting shoppers that wouldn’t have otherwise returned to make a purchase. However, the value of dynamic display advertising would be completely lost without the ability to track engagement and, more importantly, its influence on user behavior.
Luckily, the interactive nature of dynamic online display ads creates a unique opportunity when backed with intelligent tracking technology – it’s possible to connect logged conversions to consumers who engage with ads. This post-engagement attribution enables advertisers to see that:
- The ad was placed in viewable inventory;
- The user saw the ad; and
- Subsequent behavior is directly attributable to the corresponding campaign.
Engagement is also a proven indicator of purchase intent. We at mediaFORGE analyzed the average number of delay hours between an in-ad action and a conversion to assess whether there was a significant difference between clicks and other types of ad engagement. On average, those who engage with dynamic interactive display ads return and convert 44 percent faster than those who click through. mediaFORGE also found that click-through rates ranged from .08 percent to 1 percent, while engagement rates range from 10 percent to 20 percent – an indication that users are more comfortable engaging with shoppable ads than clicking through to another website.
In considering new ways to measure today’s more dynamic and sophisticated online ads, advertisers should start holding higher-functioning ads to a higher performance standard. By expecting their prospects to be engaged, advertisers will see more site visits, more conversions, and increased revenue.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.