When I worked in web marketing in the late nineties, everyone was focused on “eyeballs” (basically counting impressions) and clicks. Ad inventory was sold on a CPM model. Not much has changed. Eyeballs are still commonly cited as the measurable end result of a campaign.
But at the end of the day, impressions don’t buy. Real people do.
Many of the digital ad metrics marketers use are a poor proxy for what people actually buy. Even setting aside all of the problems with ad fraud and viewability, impressions provide a limited picture. Marketers have been left to cobble together a pretty sloppy story connecting digital ad impressions to business results.
As data-driven marketing continues to mature, there’s an interesting evolution in which metrics are measured. And a shift from eyeballs to business outcomes. Companies like Datalogix are starting to measure the impact of online campaigns on real-world sales data. Facebook has started to offer conversion lift measurement.
But it’s still early days. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ad metrics matter and how to measure them.
4 CommentsJoin the Discussion
Rodolphe R. says
Definitely leads or sales.
The way we measure the efficiency of our campaigns is note the right one. I think we mixt tactical and strategical optimizations. Current metrics like impressions, clicks, engagements, frequency, reach, etc. are tactical metrics. They are good to help advertisers to optimize their campaigns in term of delivery : Get the right reach with the right repetition engaging the right people.
But you need to have another layer on top of that one which help you to understand the best media mixt you need to build to get as much sales as possible at the right price. This strategical layer will help you to understand how each media / campaigns contribute to your sales. The best tools to do that are econometric models.
Tactical optimizations and especially in the digital world are short cycles (hours, days, weeks according to your business). strategical insights are long cycles (quarters, semesters acording to your business again).
Forget about real time, it’s already too late …
Online metrics are all basically bogus. For CPG brands that do very little business online, clicks and engagements have no correlation to sales or brand awareness; both instead correlate heavily to how hard the website works to make you accidentally click or interact with their ad. I don’t like my agency using them for optimization, and I can’t fathom actually using them to judge campaign success.
Success with any digital campaign is best evaluated the same way you evaluate the success of a TV commercial, a Radio spot, a Magazine ad, or a Billboard: Is household penetration increasing? Is the rate of base dollar sales growth improving?
I find that in general, the people I talk to who grew up online cant fathom why a company would evaluate ad campaigns on clicks and engagements, while people who adopted the internet or social media as adults “believe the hype”, if you will.
Lesley Mace says
Truth is you cannot truly measure the ROI from any TV type advertising.. you send people to a URL and that’s where it stops.
We provide retailers and brands with online impressions along with what was added to the basket and the sales on the back of it. Giving a real ROI of an online campaign. Allowing you to see in real-time what is working as well as have access to accurate online transactional data that you can use to better plan your next strategy / campaign.
And no we are not online media advertising.. isn’t that old hat???
Ad observer says
We can no longer be stuck with impressions or click through rate for digital ads, it is about being relevant to the right target audience. In today’s cluttered world it is hard to gain attention and measure the direct relationship between ROI and ads as there are lot of factors that influence an audience clicks. Instead by focussing more on measures like relevance and whether the ad has reached right audience brands can learn more about how they can continue to connect with their consumers.