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Patrick Brown

Member since April 2021Contact Patrick

Patrick Brown is the Director of Media and Analytics at creative firm Bradley and Montgomery (BaM). Learn more at

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  • Why It's Time For The Industry To Ditch Display Ads by Patrick Brown (MAD on 05/20/2021)

    (part 2)I do tend to focus on the click-through rate because it's such a direct path to sale (though I understand that method has some weaknesses). When somebody searches for a product on Google and peruses the results for the one they want, they click on what they want. This is simple and direct and a strong measure of intent -- people compare creative (SEO metadata) and make a decision for the one that resonates most closely with their query. In the display network world, we're talking about a completely different funnel step. Somebody is not reading an article with intent to shop (most likely). There is a spectrum of reasonable expectation here where on one end we have the possibility that we can convince someone to remember a brand message delivered in a small, unstandardized, and potentially annoying format while they're browsing for something unrelated...and the other side where these aspects of the medium are completely working against even the best creative work. If you use raw conversions as the dependent variable in that problem, the answer lies somewhere in the middle of that spectrum: yes display ads can drive some conversions. However -- and this is getting out of the current realm of responsibilites for media buyers and agencies, but it shouldn't be -- profitability matters. The agency I work for has incredible creatives with amazing ideas and tremendous executions, but all evidence points to the medium of a banner ad working against them. In other words, it's a borderline impossible task to raise the creative potential of a 300x250 so high that it can make up for .05% click-throughs, over-inflated view-throughs, and unbalanced cost/benefits. I hope this discussion continues outside of the realm of internet comments -- seriously, please feel free to contact me!I'll end this with a list of research, articles, and other resources that I think are helpful in understanding my thought processes:*Book - Subprime Attention Crisis (Tim Hwang) -Note the research by Nico Neumann referenced here *Podcast - Freakonomics explaining and citing several studies about advertising effectiveness -Pt 1: -Pt 2:*Anything by Zeynep Tufecki about the nature of attention *The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs -

  • Why It's Time For The Industry To Ditch Display Ads by Patrick Brown (MAD on 05/20/2021)

    (part 1)Dan, Michael, Ed, this is a good discussion, and a lot of the questions you're bringing up are frankly things I could not address in my 750 word limit for this article :)Additionally, these are complex subjects, and ones I really like talking about and picking apart. If anyone here is interested in a discussion outside of an internet comment section, I can be reached at and would be happy to meet for a call. So to address a few points, when I said "I have been told...", I was referring to a conversation with a publisher rep during a campaign I was managing. After our campaign had been running on their site for a few weeks, they reported "the click-through rate is .05%, which tells us that people are really responding positively to this campaign!" I can certainly understand how my wording may have sounded like I was just ranting about hearsay, but I intended for that to be a recount of one particular experience I've had in buying media. So this more "I have been told" in the sense that "somebody was trying to convince me that" rather than "my friend's cousin's father's best friend from college's chiropractor said..."Now that particular experience echoes several I've had with sellers of display and banner ads, be it networks or individual publishers. Click-through rates are an important first-step metric, but my attribution models still focus on conversions. When discussing view-through conversions, the data is way too noisy to be useful without marginality. Let's take the basic definition of a view-through, where somebody who has seen an ad (but not clicked) converts within the allotted window of time. That metric immediately needs to be discounted since the targeting itself could bias towards people who would have purchased anyways. What's often not clear is the marginal benefit of a campaign: how many ADDITIONAL buyers did it generate against the existing trajectory? There are platforms that help dissect this, but without this dissection I really do see view-throughs as a worthless metric.

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