How can you accurately measure Display campaign ROI?
Display campaigns are probably the most difficult of online channels to assess. The reason being that most of their impact resides with a user seeing and hopefully remembering an ad, rather than clicking on it. The industry average click through rate for display ads is 0.08%: of 10,000 banner views, only 8 will generate a click and a visit to the site (and some of these clicks are accidental but that’s another topic).
There are typically 2 ways to measure the efficiency of your display banners: you either trust the provider that you use (Google Display Network, Double Click, Criteo, Quantcast…) or Google Analytics. Both are poor sources of information and here is why with a real life example from one of our clients.
This Wizaly client in the travel vertical wanted to compare 2 different DSPs and put them to the test. In order to ensure a fair comparison, they split the US equal regions based on population, wealth, conversion rates and asked each DSP to target one of the 2 regions with an equal budget. The DSP with the best result was going to be kept as the retargeting provider of choice going forward.
Both providers used a 24 hour view-through window and a 30 day click-through window. In other words, they considered that a conversion meeting these view-through and click-through criteria was 100% attributable to them.
At the end of the test, the 2 vendors reported 1,583 and 1,645 conversions respectively. This seemed a huge number and a very positive outcome.
When looking at Google Analytics, the results were unsurprisingly very poor: 4 and 5 conversions respectively. This is easily understandable: Google Analytics does not record the view-through impact and measures a channel success on a last click (non direct) basis. In other words, for a sale to be attributed to one of the 2 vendors, someone would have had to click on the ad and purchased from the site immediately.
Wizaly gave them a very contrasted picture: our software deduplicated the vendor’s results and weighted their credit by taking a number of signals into account:
- Real viewability (we counted a view only when 50% of the ad was displayed on the user’s screen resolution for at least a second according to IAB standards)
- Engagement metrics of the person visiting the site after having seen an add (how many pages did the user see / how long did they stay on the site?)
- The real added value of having one of the vendors in a user journey (did it make a statistically significant difference when one of the vendors’ ads was present in the user path within the relevant view-through window?)
The result? One of the vendors was credited with 148 conversions while the other one only got 34. In terms of revenue, it represented half a million $ over the test period alone. By trusting the individual vendors or Google Analytics, this contrast could not have been identified and a $10m yearly opportunity could have been missed.