Don’t be a click head

22 Jun 2016

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By Josh Moses, AdRoll

In the world of digital advertising, some marketers have been guilty of a heinous crime, judging display performance by the same measure used to judge Search Engine Marketing performance, CLICKS.

Let’s take a closer look at the origin of click based measurement, Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Search engines were built to help people find and click onto websites that they were looking for. Pretty straight forward. You know what you want, you search, you find, you click.

Okay, so clicking on ads makes sense for SEM, but what about display campaigns?

Let’s rewind a few years and talk about television and billboards. The original playground for advertisers.

Take this example...

Sally is walking to work and passes a bus stop billboard selling brand-name sneakers. It’s the fifth time she’s seen the ad in the last three days and she decides that she is deserving of something new.

So, Sally walks into work, turns on her computer and Google searches “brand-name sneakers”. She finds the brand that she was looking for, clicks through to the site and completes her purchase.

As a marketer for the sneaker company you are proud of your well placed bus stop ad. Right? Wrong…

Instead of celebrating the effectiveness of your bus stop ad, you are instead obsessed with click metrics from your search campaign and desperately trying to work out exactly which keyword is driving the most conversions… and therein lies the problem.

Search campaigns do not drive conversions, they simply facilitate them.

Fast forward to 2016. The media landscape has expanded and we now have both TV and Youtube, Outdoor and Display. The story is still the same. People interact with display campaigns as they go about their daily activities across multiple devices. Much like Outdoor and TV, display campaigns help brands DRIVE conversions, while search, just like it always did, continues to FACILITATE them.

In the bus stop example, Sally was not in a position to purchase the sneakers on her way to work. Why? Because she was busy. Plain and simple.

The same is true of display ads. If Sally is reading up on the latest industry news on her laptop and sees a display ad, she is not in a position to make a purchase then and there. Why? Because she is busy.

So why would she stop what she was doing and click on an ad? She wouldn’t. Instead, she’ll take note of the display ad, just like the bus stop ad and go to the brand’s site (via Google) when she is ready to purchase.

Again, if you are the marketer for the sneaker company, do you celebrate the success of your display campaign or do you incorrectly judge its performance based on its inability to generate a click?

Please, save your click counting for your search campaigns.

Measure the success of your display advertising with a custom attribution model that respects both view and click conversion.

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