From indicators to effectiveness online
Are our advertising campaigns actually helping us to generate optimal profits? Or is it worth making changes to maximize the benefits they can bring us? The answer to these questions is simple when we have the right tools and indicators.
There is no doubt that the greatest advantage of the internet, when it comes to displaying advertising campaigns, is that it lends itself to easy measuring more than any other type of media. We can measure virtually anything – from calculating the number of times our ad is displayed, to determining the revenue generated by a specific banner ad.
Reach and views are important in branding campaigns
The majority of online ad campaigns fall into one of two categories. The first consists of branding campaigns, which are costed on the basis of cost per thousand views of the advertising material (cost per mille, CPM, or cost per thousand, CPT).
In terms of branding campaigns, a number of standard indicators for the most basic information are used when talking about the effectiveness of the campaign: reach, number of views, and click through rate (CTR).
Reach is the number of users who have come into contact with our campaign. This factor is most frequently determined by the number of cookies, the assumption being that this number corresponds to the number of people who have seen the campaign. However, this is not entirely correct because if one person saw the campaign on two different computers – for example, at work and at home – it appears as two cookies, and is counted twice. For that reason, in our gemiusDirectEffect system we also use another indicator – real users. The difference in the presentation of reach between number of cookies and number of real users is huge. The real users indicator tells us about the actual number of people who had contact with a given ad. Our algorithms convert the number of cookies to the actual number of internet users reached by an advertising message. As a result, we know how many people actually came into contact with that campaign.
Number of views of an advertising campaign is an indicator that reveals how many times our advertising material was displayed on the internet.
Click through rate (CTR) is also included on the list of basic indicators. However, it is far more significant for the second type of campaign – namely, efficiency campaigns.
In efficiency campaigns there are many cost models
Several costing models exist for efficiency campaigns. It all depends on the agreement made between the advertiser and the publisher of the website where the campaign will be displayed.
The most popular costing model is the cost of a single click on your ad (cost per click, CPC). Another commonly used model is the cost of registration, thus leaving a so-called lead, such as a phone number or email address (cost per lead, CPL). Extremely popular in the world of e-commerce is the model whereby the publisher receives payment if a user of their website goes on to make a purchase from the advertiser's online shop (cost per sale, CPS). Another popular model sees the publisher get paid if a user performs a specific action – for example, downloading the product catalogue (cost per action, CPA).
Analysis in real time – heat maps, in-screens and dwell time
We can analyse campaign statistics throughout the campaign, not only after its completion. Data that tells us about what is happening with our ads in real time is often the most valuable. This information allows us to react quickly and take optimizing actions. Attention should also be paid to statistics relating to the most efficient materials, so that they can be relied upon to a greater extent within the campaign.
A great tool for measuring and testing banner ads is the heat map, a program that analyses the exact locations clicked on banners by users. This kind of report and the results we obtain enable the creation of materials that engage users, which are much more effective.
And that's not all we’re able to measure. Recently, in-screens have become a very popular indicator for assessing the effectiveness of a campaign. This indicator tells us what percentage of our material was displayed on a user’s screen. It may be the case, for example, that the majority of ads displayed on a website are shown at the very bottom, in a place the user doesn’t reach while browsing the website. It is currently deemed that the ad was in the field of view of the user if at least half of its size was displayed on the user’s screen for at least one second. However, in gemiusDirectEffect we have gone a step further and enabled users to determine their own parameters for the in-screen indicator. As such, advertisers can precisely measure the visibility of an ad according to their own definition.
We can also measure user engagement and whether the user interacted with our material. This is determined with the dwell time indicator, which tells us how long the mouse cursor was in the field of our banner. This is very valuable information, especially when interactive banners are used in a campaign – whether in the form of mini-games or video content.
As for videos, we are able to precisely measure every second of the material and see how many users started watching, and how many of them kept watching to the end of the video ad. We can also observe second-by-second to find out how viewers behaved when they stopped watching the advert.
Did the ad reach the target audience?
I’ve left the most important to last. The really key information in terms of the effectiveness of an advertising campaign is who we actually managed to reach – meaning the socio-demographic characteristics of people who saw the ad. In gemiusDirectEffect this information is broken down by gender, age, education, income, region of origin and place of residence. And what if our target group is not included in the default settings? No problem at all. Within the interface we can freely determine the socio-demographic characteristics of our desired group of people; then, during and after the campaign, we can examine whether our actions proved effective and whether we actually reached the pre-determined target audience.
We can even go one step further, since we are able to obtain data not only about the people who saw the campaign, but also about those who clicked on our banner ads. This is an excellent opportunity to compare the socio-demographic data of people who saw the campaign and people who were interested enough to click on the advertising material. For advertisers this knowledge is priceless.
The world of online advertising and its measurement offers a wealth of indicators; the only job for advertisers is to decide which of them to use day-to-day in order to most effectively reach their customers.