We all know the answer. The click is a terrible proxy metric for the values that advertisers reap from good advertisement. It is an equally terrible proxy for revealing when money is being wasted on campaigns that leads to nothing. No one ever clicked on an ad and ended up buying a car. Or a burger for that matter.
That does not mean digital ads never influence people towards buying one car instead of another, or heading for one burger joint rather than the other one. They do. It happens every day. The effects just need to be measured differently, and it is not hard.
The model above is simplified. But it is a sensible way of thinking about the role of advertising. We are exposed to more messages than we actual pay attention to. But when we do, it may make us aware of a brand or an offer. If well executed it may then change or strengthen our attitudes; increase our preference and trigger the idea of buying whatever is in the ad.
Does all of this happen instantaneously? Rarely.
So, it takes some time. Even if we are familiar with the brand and positive towards the idea of purchasing, that is only going to happen when we as consumers want it to happen. An ad for a mobile phone may be acted on in three months, when the glass of the current one lies scattered across the floor. No clicks, no interaction with the ad. Still a good campaign.
How can such effects be measured? It really only takes (A) one clever question, targeted to the people that were exposed to the campaign, (B) a scientifically tested brandlift calculation algorithm, and (C) a benchmark database to put the results in contexts.
But there is no escaping from asking people. If you want to know what happens in people’s mind, ask them.
In the left part of the model above, the digital advertising market has matured a lot lately. Companies like Meetrics, Mote, Integral Ad Science, AdMetrics etc. do an excellent job at measuring that the ad was actually exposed, on the screen, to a human not a bot, on a website that is not bad or fraudulent. As an advertiser you should use such services.
But knowing your ad was properly served is not the same as knowing it was successful. The only way to know what is happening inside the recipients’ minds when exposed to your campaign, is to survey them. In our case, it takes one question in the ad space itself. That is enough.
In practice it means sacrificing a tiny fraction of your campaign exposures and use it to ask a thoroughly tested question. We then hold the answers up against knowledge about who was exposed how many times. Our technology will tell you how much any particular campaign increased your brand awareness, brand consideration, brand preference and purchase/action intent. Results are benchmarked against thousands of similar uplift data aggregations and we will calculate the campaign ROI. This way, combined with metrics like viewability, audience verification, anti-fraud, and brand safety, the brand uplift provides advertisers with an accurate and holistic view of a campaigns actual effect. It offers a way to look beyond obsolete proxy metrics.
The success rate of advertisers working with brandlift measurements supersedes expectations. There is a cost, but it is low and the benefits of continuous learning and optimization is many times higher. You can also ask your publishing partner. Many of the leading media groups offers brand lift measurements as part of their service if you stay within their networks.