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How to Quantify Digital Advertising Effectiveness


Marketers are investing a greater portion of their media budgets in digital advertising, and they're facing increased pressure to prove digital media branding effectiveness -- both as a single channel and in concert with a broader multichannel campaign.

Some have discovered that measuring digital campaign effectiveness is problematic.

"Digital’s legacy of direct-response metrics has caused many to fall back on measures that drove the first wave of online advertising -- click-through rate and page-view,” said Lauren Fisher, analyst at eMarketer.

But these metrics can be inaccurate for quantifying digital branding effects -- especially when considering internet users click on less than one percent of display ads and are never in view of about a third of all ad impressions served in the U.S. market.

Others are incorporating digital measurement into traditional offline count metrics -- such as the gross rating point (GRP). A December 2011 survey from DIGIDAY and Vizu of North American marketers found this mixture was the most popular method for calculating online marketing ROI.

One of the most basic measures of digital branding impact is the traditional brand health survey, used to calculate brand lift. Four in five North American brand marketers considered brand lift to be the most important metric for evaluating the success of their online branding efforts.

But many that aren't using the click-through measure don’t have the option of using panel-based measures, so they adopt the view-through metric instead -- which attempts to measure whether the ad was actually viewed by an internet user.

A similar, engagement-oriented metric for online video ads is completion rate.

Publishers like YouTube are already embracing this metric as a way for brands to both measure and pay for ad performance. Its TrueView product allows advertisers to pay only for video ads that consumers have viewed for at least 30 seconds or to completion, depending on the length of the ad.

According to video ad network BrightRoll, in Q1 2011 cost per video view was the metric upon which 21.2 percent of U.S. ad agencies were most likely to base their online video ad spending. A slightly higher percentage preferred to base online video ad spending on the more general metric of cost per engagement (23.9 percent).

"Learning to effectively measure digital brand advertising takes time and practice," said Fisher. "Marketers must break old habits of using single measures of success -- be it traditional count metrics such as the GRP or native digital measures such as click-through or page-view. Instead, they must look to uncover the right mix of traditional brand health metrics and select digital measures of engagement."

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