What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Display Ad Campaigns

 In Ad Tech, Analytics Landscape, Behavioral Analysis, Campaign Optimization, Case Studies, Consumer Behavior, Display Ad Campaigns, Marketing Strategy

David Ogilvy famously said that half his advertising worked, but that the problem was that he didn’t know which half. Since Ogilvy’s time, a lot has changed to help marketers and advertisers narrow in on which half of their advertising is working, thanks most notably to the internet and digital advertising. But many digital advertisers are still measuring the effectiveness of their display ad campaigns with outdated metrics that limit decision-making.

The Good Ole Days

Back in Ogilvy’s day, advertising campaigns were made up of some mix of TV, radio and print. Attribution was nearly impossible, so they measured things like impressions, ad frequency, and conducted expensive surveys to understand if a campaign helped promote brand recognition and sales.

And then the internet changed everything. When the first banner ad appeared in 1994, it saw a 44 percent click-through rate. 44 percent! For the first time, marketers could track that single behavior to purchase. In the 23 years since that first banner ad, a lot has changed, including new sales channels and customer behaviors that muddy this attribution between CTR and purchase.

So why are you still measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns with outdated metrics like CTR, impressions, and ad frequency? How well do these metrics capture the complexity of today’s online consumer behavior?

The Incomplete Picture of Display Ads

If you’re a digital marketer today, chances are you’re equating CTR with intent behavior, when a click could just as easily be the result of a fat finger. And you probably have some wildly complex attribution model that relies on behaviors on your domains because, like Ogilvy, that’s the data you have.

But how is a digital marketer to understand the lift of a digital campaign when more than half of online purchases happen in walled-garden marketplaces? How are you to fully value a banner ad on a media partner website, if you don’t know how it impacted search volume?

While conversions and attribution remain critical metrics, the truth is they are not enough. They only tell the small part of the story that happens on your website. But your customers spend most of their time online outside your website, so if you’re relying on the data gathered on your domain alone, you’re missing most of your customer’s behavior.

The good news is; your competition is too. But not for long. As martech continues to advance, now is the time to start filling the data gaps by analyzing behavior across domains, where your customers actually search and purchase your products.

The Case of Condé Nast

Condé Nast is a media powerhouse with more than 120 million readers across publications like Vogue, The New Yorker, Bon Appétit, and Wired. However, as competition of advertising dollars began shifting to search engines, Condé Nast needed better data to help their advertisers understand the true value of advertising on their outlets. But they were limited to reach and CTR.

So Condé Nast partnered with Jumpshot to gain access to data outside their domains. They began reporting the increase in product purchases on walled-garden marketplaces like Nordstrom.com, and the increase in search volume as a result of seeing ads on a Condé Nast domain.

Perhaps more importantly, digital marketers used this new Jumpshot data to help refine their ad buying. For example, a beauty retailer was able to increase purchases by 150 percent by placing ads, not just in health and fashion, but in food and politics too. Similarly, a leading beverage company boosted sales 19 percent by placing ads on technology and gadget content in addition to food content.

“The data integration has proven invaluable. Many of our advertisers are seeing campaign uplifts of over 60 percent,” said Karthic Bala, Head of Data Strategy at Condé Nast.

Better Data Makes Better Decisions

Marketers should have an insatiable appetite for data. Behavioral data from across domains, and changes in that behavior over time should shape how they think of and respond to their market. When you can use data to compares behaviors of customers who have encountered digital ads with those who haven’t, like Jumpshot does, you can utilize novel methods of quantifying lift. With that tool, digital marketers can start getting a better sense of which 50 percent of their advertising is working.

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Do you know the marketplaces where your customer's search? Look behind walled gardens to find out.Moving past the old way of optimizing ad campaigns. Photo by Patryk Grądys on Unsplash