We know that CTR is not an effective measurement for online branding campaigns. It’s a direct-response metric and while it is often used as a proxy to assess the success of brand campaigns, it fails to communicate the effect of the campaign on the vast majority of people, those who didn’t actually click.
The industry still over relies on CTR because we invest in what we understand. Online branding intends to raise awareness and enhance a brand’s availability in the consumer’s mind, yet real-time assessment of campaign performance is difficult and potentially expensive.
A prime example of this is viewability. We’ve taken great strides verifying that campaigns have the chance to be seen, but viewability is a measure of efficiency, an entry point to the brand-consumer interaction, not in itself an indicator of campaign effectiveness or consumer engagement. By optimising towards viewability, we might damage our campaigns’ chances of real success.
Certain tactics – weighting campaigns towards smaller formats that are more likely to meet viewability thresholds (50% of the ad in view for one second); investing in intrusive formats, which may be in view but obstruct content and annoy; cluttering ad placements above the fold – improve viewability scores but negatively impact actual ad exposure and, so, effectiveness.
There are more sensible options that improve viewability scores which are far more likely to ensure ad exposure and contribute to underlying branding campaign objectives: restructuring editorial content to incorporate certain ad formats; capping auto-refresh delivery (preventing ads from being delivered in inactive tabs where they can’t be seen); introducing lazy-loading technology, which prevents ads being loaded below-the-fold, before the user scrolls.
Fundamentally, measurement needs to help us understand whether we’ve achieved original campaign objectives. We need to invest in building ‘knowledge bridges’ to tie individual data points back to the overarching objective. For example, we should map a correlation between viewability and visual engagement, to understand how the opportunity to see an ad relates to the likelihood of the ad being looked at.
InSkin Media’s current research uses eye-tracking technology to explore how users visually engage with advertising. We are looking to derive design rules from this data to help us create advertising that makes the biggest possible impact. While we understand it’s easy to be critical of current practices, we must collectively improve the quality of evaluation across the industry. Data, no matter how big, is useless unless turned into meaningful, understandable and actionable insight.
This is what we seek to change at InSkin Media, in the brand advertising space and our seminar aims to uncover more on this topic with leading experts in the research field.
Through the Eye and into The Brain
Steve presents the results of this research at Dmexco. A panel of experts from Research Now and Sticky discuss whether intensity of visual engagement with an ad is a function of ad format and correlates positively with memory building. They explore whether creative execution is an important indicator for the relationship between viewability and visual engagement.
The seminar is on Thursday, 15 September at 10am, Seminar 2, 2nd floor, Congress Centre North. You can also visit InSkin Media at their stand in Hall 7, Stand A048.