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3 Reasons to Rely on Consumer Engagement for Display Ad Performance

August 14, 2012 By Tony Zito
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As experts and commentators make projections about how engagement should be defined and, more importantly, measured in display, it's becoming an industry consensus that there's value in measuring and understanding display ad engagement. Let's take a step back and review why exactly consumer engagement, as a display performance metric, is meaningful. 

Display media campaigns are most commonly measured by impressions (cost per thousand, or CPM), clickthrough rate (CTR) or viewthrough conversions (VTC). 

CPM is the default option for brand advertisers who feel they don't get much insight from CTR or VTC. They frequently use CPM in conjunction with insights from brand survey companies.    

CTR is widely accepted as an indicator of purchase intent and is a fairly easy-to-sell metric to multichannel advertisers. The benefit of measuring performance by CTR is you get more insight than CPM with an at-a-glance key performance indicator.

VTC requires more advertiser involvement to understand the rate at which impressions are converting. Advertisers are still left without proof that ads were loaded and served in viewable inventory, but the benefit is that they pay for more conversion and revenue-focused performance indicators than clicks.

The piece of information lacking from each of these metrics is evidence that campaign ads influenced purchase decisions. This is where consumer engagement carries critical weight. In-ad interaction creates a point of reference that proves ads were visible. Attributing success to proven engagement creates greater certainty that display ads played a role in influencing conversions.   

There's no one-step solution to understanding engagement in a CTR, VTC or CPM campaign. To get real value from engagement, it must become a methodology that encompasses the campaign from start to finish — i.e., from ad development to campaign optimization to performance attribution.  

Here are three ways that consumer engagement influences success at various campaign stages: 

1. Creative designed to drive ad engagement improves influence. When the end goal of a campaign is to acquire conversions through engagement, it creates an incentive to build ads that are uniquely compelling so consumers will interact. Interactions must be meaningful enough to aid conversion. Personalized content with rich functionality capture brand personality. Consumers should be allowed to explore content just like they can on an advertiser's website.

 

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