Agencies and marketers are taking the reins of their ad spending and campaign monitoring, but there is still a lot of confusion over what KPIs best capture how well a digital campaign has performed.
But does it really matter?
The short answer, yes.
Marketers’ choice of KPI’s can actually be having a massive impact on the overall success of a digital campaign.
Often the metrics and benchmarks marketers set can indirectly encourage ad buyers to turn to fraudulent options as a means of hitting unrealistic targets. Marketers and Advertisers soon find themselves trapped in the number-chasing cycle.
So, how can we break the cycle?
Mastering the Metrics: Viewability
Marketers and Advertisers need to understand ad metrics and read between the numbers. As Digiday reports, GroupM doesn’t care about the time spent on an ad, but rather whether an ad is 100% in view. Metrics such as viewability rate, fill rate and impression rate can offer detailed information on this, but aiming for an unrealistically high % can pose an array of risks:
Pushing for a large amount of impressions may compromise the ad’s placement online.
Ad buyers may turn to ad servers and/or players that partake in malpractice such as:
counting an impression before the ad has loaded
rotating multiple ads in a player to count multiple impressions with no ad being properly served
placing an ad on a range of fraudulent websites.
Ad buyers may be encouraged to ‘cookie bomb’ a page, by dropping lots of cookies onto a page with the idea that at least a small percentage will convert.
Highly viewable traffic is not always highly viewed by humans. Unusually high viewability rates can be an indicator of high fraudulent activity.
Marketers, advertisers & publishers need access to impartial campaign performance measurement.
Here at Coull we recognise the industry’s need for a third party fraud-free “enforcer”. By using an array of fraud detection tools, such as Forensic, the IAB’s approved cybersecurity service and manual vetting, we are able detect the most sophisticated patterns of fraudulent behaviour & work closely with both the publishers and advertisers to relay this information back and (most importantly) take action across our marketplace.
The duopoly, Google and Facebook, have often been accused of having a much less objective approach to reports due to the fact that some of their ad metrics have yet to be verified by third-parties. The UK Business Insider has likened this to “marking their own homework”.
Marketers & Advertisers need to be realistic with their KPI benchmarks. As Venture Beat reports, new video formats such as click-to-play pre-roll, native and out-stream, and video within social content are much more fraud-resistant. However, “ad-buyers continued to expect the high completion rates the overall industry had been promising”.
Many have suggested that the need for a new reporting metric is the real answer to the dilemma. But the reality is, numbers will always be subject to potential manipulation. The responsibility lies with the marketers to tackle digital ad metrics head on, without turning a blind eye to the potential risks. Numbers on fill, viewability and completion on high quality fraud free websites are undoubtedly going to be lower than those generated in the realm of bots, dodgy players and fake websites.
Ultimately, elevated completion rates like those projected by both Facebook and Google in recent months are simply unrealistic for in-feed ads. Both marketers and advertisers need to agree that a potential dip in the graph is a small price to pay for real human views on high quality sites.