Considering how advanced the technology is today in so many aspects of digital advertising, the industry has been slow in adopting suitable measurements of effectiveness. Between the scale allowed by digital, and the vast new access to premium placements technology allows brands to have, digital now rivals broadcast as a forum for smart branding. Indeed, digital platforms allow for both granule audience targeting and advanced measurement of a campaign’s effectiveness. Broadcast only wishes it could bring that to the table.
The problem is, while more telling metrics for measuring ROI have been suggested, too many marketers are still using old-school metrics like impressions and clicks. These simply aren’t sufficient metrics for understanding branding in digital today. They don’t cut it for the brand that wants to understand the media habits of affluent consumers, and leverage that understanding for better-performing campaigns. To help move up the funnel, where real money is at stake, we need to think seriously about viewability’s role in branding in a digital environment.
In the affluent marketplace, targeting your affluent consumer is only the beginning. Good branding, especially higher up the funnel, relies on brand exposure. It’s not good enough for the brand to load, only for the user to scroll away in a second. The more time the targeted consumer spends with the ad and the content around it, the better exposure the brand has. To that end, adopting metrics for actual “time spent” engaged with ads, wherever engagement happens, is ideal for the luxury brand marketer.
To do that, we need to rethink what “viewability” means. Viewability has been a hot topic for a while, especially since the IAB recommended a shift from metrics around impressions served to viewable impressions. The premise is, long-valued click-throughs won’t happen if the ads you’re trying to serve aren’t visible.
It’s been a complicated process, though. Eventually, the IAB recognized there was a fair amount of confusion around how to implement and understand viewability. We need a deeper understanding of how to measure the effectiveness of “time spent” viewing ads, especially if we want to move up the funnel, spend ad revenue more wisely, and deliver a branding experience that at least rivals broadcast.
Today, digital ads offer genuine depth and breadth of information for consumers, not to mention powerful branding experiences. Click-throughs are an easy way to chart the path to conversion — but they’re also rare. For a brand that wants to showcase the quality, credibility and experience it can deliver, it’s essential to move away from click-through fever and into a substantial measurement of viewability.
To move a digital campaign up the funnel and reach its most valued audiences, a brand needs to think less about clicks, less rigidly about above versus below-the-fold placement, and more about the amount of time the consumer spends with an ad. For good branding to work here, the ad needs to load near content the target consumer desires. It should remain in view as the consumer scrolls along. Most importantly, the brand needs to know how much time the ad spends in that consumer’s eyesight, and how the consumer interacts with it.
Let’s not think about viewability as a simple “yes” or “no” question. “Time” is a more valuable factor to consider than mere presence, especially where a rich branding experience might lead to a real payoff for a luxury brand. Let’s strike up a new conversation around metrics, one that captures the full value of digital brand advertising for a brand’s most valued consumers.