SPONSORED CONTENT: Olive Media’s Shannan LaMorre on measuring online engagement
September 02, 2014
Objectively measuring the success of branding campaigns has always been inherently challenging for marketers and it is no different in the digital world. While many would like to believe there is one single metric to help guide the way, I’m more of an advocate of using multiple metrics that assess “quality engagement” based on the marketer’s specific objective.
Despite being a staple for measuring online campaign effectiveness, click-through rates present a host of challenges for marketers. For one, it’s susceptible to fraud. But more importantly, it fails to account for exposure to all of the users who do not click on an ad – even though we know the size of that audience and the value of that exposure is significant, especially in the case branding campaigns that have no call to action.
There is a lot of noise in the industry about viewability. Marketers see it as the key to enhancing the quality of the ad interaction with consumers. I applaud the efforts and the progress made by the IAB and the MRC to develop standards, but question whether “50% or more of the ad in-view for at least one continuous second” is the best measure.
In theory, viewability tells you if there was the potential for an ad to be seen (assuming that nobody is gaming the system). It’s easy to see why this would be seen as an important metric for marketers, but in practice its utility remains limited. With multiple vendors each using a different methodology, we see significant discrepancies and thus confusion between buyer and seller. I believe viewability is more appropriately used as an indicator of the “quality” of the inventory – not as a currency, nor in isolation.
So what about evaluating the amount of time that an ad was in-view? It is yet another indicator of the “opportunity” for a consumer to view an ad – and can therefore be another clue as to inventory quality and the likely of engagement. But it is again just one piece of a larger puzzle.
Interaction is another important metric to consider. When a user purposefully interacts with an ad, it unquestionably creates deeper engagement with the brand. However, taken on its own, it doesn’t mean much. The quality of engagement in this case comes down to whether or not consumers are interacting with an ad in the way the marketer intended – that is, to drive social shares, video completes, time spent, etc.
And why aren’t we spending more time talking about creative? The creative plays a crucial role in achieving a marketer’s branding objectives. If the goal is to build brand awareness – the creative must attract consumers’ attention and ensure the brand is readily identifiable. Unfortunately, this element often falls out of consideration when assessing the success of a given campaign.
So what’s a marketer to do in the quest to measure the effectiveness of their branding campaigns? My advice would be to continue gathering each of these individual metrics wherever possible, all of which have their virtue. And, rather than focus on any one metric in isolation, always consider them in tandem with an eye to measuring “quality engagement”.