Saturday, February 22, 2014

View Through Attribution and Display Measurement

Are view-through conversions bogus or are they the path to measuring the true value of your campaign?
When it comes to measuring the success of your display campaigns, and increasingly content or native campaigns, too often the conversation goes like this:
Agency: “Your campaign received 7,000 conversions last week, for an effective CPA of $20.”
Marketer: “Too good to be true. I’ve told you before, I don’t care about view-throughs, they’re bogus. Looks like the CPA is actually $119, which is too high, so we’re redeploying our cash.”
What’s wrong with this conversation? Agencies and publishers have an incentive to lay claim to as many conversions as possible in an effort to show the most value for their platform and inventory. Advertisers and marketers have to deal with stringent post-click attributions models used by their analytics teams. But somewhere in the middle is where the true number of conversions lies. That’s because simple post-click attribution models don’t account for the richness of the conversion path—and counting all your post-view conversions is far too generous an attribution claim. Getting to the accurate number of actions driven by a campaign is the science of view-through quantification, a poorly understood display attribution method that has big implications—not only for display, but also for native ads and the industry’s burgeoning investment in content marketing.
So how do you quantify a campaign’s view-through contribution? It starts with setting up a holdout group and measuring the lift between the exposed and unexposed group. This is a capability readily available in major ad serving systems, DPS’s, or even your AdWords account. You’ll also need some public service ads (or non-branded ads) in the same ad sizes as your campaign creative. Running this experiment will require you to setup two campaigns, one featuring your branded ads, and the other using public service announcements. After running your campaign, which may take days or even weeks depending on the size of your budget and volume of conversions, organize your data in a table like the one below:

Using the data above, you can calculate the true contribution of your campaign— here are some items you should notice:
  • You can see that about $5K, or 3% of the total campaign budget went to the control group, the segment unexposed to the branded advertisement. Consider this an investment in understanding the percentage of post-view conversions that are in fact real conversions that would not have been realized if this campaign were not to have run.
  • Your experimental group received the bulk of post-click conversions—this is exactly what you should expect. The reason the control group shows 5 post-click conversions is the simple fact that a click doesn’t necessarily mean the customer was influenced by the campaign. In this case some users clicked the public service announcement, went to the public service announcement landing page, and still actually registered as a conversion. This is most common with large advertisers and offers that have a wide uptake rate.
  • You can see that there were 6,303 post-view conversions for the experimental group. But, how many of these are actual conversions that you can attribute to the campaign? Answering this question is the purpose of our experiment. By subtracting the post-view conversion rate of the experimental group (0.013%) from the post-view conversion rate of the control group (0.010%) and dividing by the post-view conversion rate of the experimental group (0.013%), you can get to the percentage of post-view conversions attributable to the campaign. That’s (0.013% - 0.010%) / 0.013% = 21%, which means 21% of your post-view conversions are actually attributable to the campaign, an incremental 1,303 conversion.
  • After running you calculation, you can see that the total number of conversions the campaign drove was 2,564, bringing the campaign’s CPA down from $119 to its real value, $58.54.
So what does all this mean? If you’re only counting post-click activities, you’re underinvesting in the channel, so make sure to use this methodology to determine the true benefit of your campaign. But what’s even more important to remember is that this attribution method unlocks possibilities in content marketing and native ads, channels where measurement can be even less clear and difficult to capture from a purely post-click perspective.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's your reach on LinkedIn? See who's viewed your updates.

How are your LinkedIn updates being consumed by your network? Who's interacting with them? If you're looking to build out your personal brand, establish trust with your network, or simply stay in touch with colleagues, this data can be enormously useful. If you haven't noticed already, LinkedIn lets you see how far and wide your update is reaching. You can see how many of your first-degree connections are viewing your update as well as any likes or comments you receive. These social actions drive second-degree views, which in turn can contribute to wider distribution if your content or message is engaging enough to spread this far.

Below is an example of my recent update about a fantastic article on the power of storytelling in business, To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story, by Dennis Nishi at WSJ. You can see that my update generated a total of 257 views, 3 likes, and 1 comment. It even expanded into my third-degree network.

To access the Who's Viewed Your Updates data, scroll down in your LinkedIn feed and notice it on the right hand side:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Facebook's New Login Page

Looks like Facebook has officially started rolling out their new login page. The new Facebook login page not only features the creative they've been testing for some time now, but has links to learn more about Timeline, Graph Search, Messages, and Mobile. I still find it strange that during the winter and close to spring their using an autumn scene as their backdrop.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Facebook Logout Ads: Creative Examples

Believe it or not, some people actually do log out of Facebook. In the last twelve months, Facebook has begun featuring new ad formats on their log out page. Below is some creative I've collected over the last week that shows how advertisers are using this space. What strikes me is that it seems strange for Facebook to feature social actions such as Like and Comment, since users are logged out. Also, interesting to note from a direct attribution perspective, clicking anywhere on the banner image takes you to the advertiser's landing page with tracking parameters in the URL.



Here's what Facebook has to say out logout ads:
When you log out of Facebook you may see an ad that looks like a Page timeline on the homepage. This allows advertisers to show larger format ads on Facebook without interrupting your experience when you're logged in and connecting with your friends. Advertising keeps Facebook free for everyone. Learn more about advertising on Facebook.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

What Time is the Super Bowl?

What time is the Super Bowl? That might seem like a straightforward question, but it's that time of the year again, so let's get down to SEO brass tacks. "What time is the Super Bowl" is one of the oldest and most widely cited search engine tactics. It used to be the Huffington Post that ranked first for the Super Bowl query, but now it looks like has gotten smart and built out their own "What time is the Super Bowl?" page with an optimized URL slug, text on page, and title tag. There are also hundreds of mostly legitimate sites out there looking to take advantage of a deluge of Super Bowl related traffic today. The catch is that Google has beaten them to the punch with their own native result--a win for users.

So, what time is the Super Bowl? Well, it depends on what time zone you're in.
  • What time is the Super Bowl in Eastern Standard Time? 6:30PM
  • What time is the Super Bowl in Central Standard Time? 5:30PM
  • What time is the Super Bowl in Mountain Standard Time? 4:30PM
  • What time is the Super Bowl in Pacific Standard Time? 3:30PM
  • What time is the Super Bowl in Hawaiian Standard Time? 1:30PM

There you have it folks, if you're wondering what time the Super Bowl is, you've got your answer. Super Bowl queries show that search optimization is as much about making the content you have discoverable as predicting queries and future demand.