This month, we are drilling in to the topic of Display advertising, and one of the questions that comes up over and again for our TRFFK team is this: How do we measure its impact? The answer begins with the consumer journey. Understanding that today’s purchasing journey is not linear, but rather a series of touchpoints that go back and forth until they reach their final destination — aka sale — is critical.
People typically don’t just engage with brands just one time. Think about your own dealership…You may have a billboard up in town that a potential customer sees on their drive home from work, starting the journey of brand awareness. Then, as they are browsing through Facebook on their mobile phone, your banner ad appears, driving your brand awareness even deeper, and pushing them a little further down the funnel. They don’t necessarily take any action at this point, but when they click on a website the following day and your advertising appears at the top of the page, you become top-of-mind. It’s not about click-throughs but about brand awareness. When they get closer to intent-to buy, the only brand name they now recognize, is yours. It feels familiar and therefore trustworthy. You drove them down the funnel to taking action because of a series of touchpoints through a combination of channels.
So how do you measure that? How, if the goal is not click-throughs — do we measure the impact of influence? It all comes down to using the right method of measuring for the right situation. Enter the stage, View Through Rates (VTRs). VTRs indicate the action a consumer takes, within a predetermined time frame, after viewing an ad. They attribute action taken further down the line that came from an initial impression. In other words, a consumer doesn’t have to take an immediate action in order to prove that your ad was successful.
Google puts it like this, “View-Through Conversion tracking provides you with information about which display ad placements are helping to drive conversions, even though they aren’t directly producing clicks. For example, when someone returns to your site through a bookmark, an organic listing or direct URL and converts after seeing your ad…View-Through Conversions are different from Click-Through Conversions, which occur when a consumer completed a conversion on your site after having clicked on your ad.”
This is an important thing to remember. Marketing is all about reaching people at different stages of their (non-linear) consumer journey, and nudging them further down the funnel. Display advertising is a top-of-funnel awareness play, and just because it may not result in an instant action, doesn’t mean you can’t measure its impact in other ways. It’s all part of the ever-evolving ecosystem that is digital marketing. Just like we wouldn’t expect someone to marry us without getting to know us first, we need to ease our consumers into a relationship with our brand (through Display) in order to get to a final sale.