Google Analytics and the View-Thru Conversion

So let's get these basic internet definitions quickly out of the way: a conversion is the goal that your ad campaign aims to achieve. It can be anything from a free trial download to a product purchase. There are two basic forms of conversions: the click-thru conversion, where a user clicks on an online ad, goes to a designated website and converts via an online purchase, a form completion, a request for more info. download, etc., etc. The lesser understood cousin of the click-thru conversion is the view-thru conversion. A view-thru conversion is when a user is exposed to an online ad but does not click on the ad, and subsequently goes to the website related to that online ad, and converts.

So here is the  2 big reveals in this post that if you are not aware of, you should be:

1.) Google Analytics only tracks Click-Thru Conversions (CTC)

2.) Nearly 90% of online users don't click on display ads, and people who do click on display ads rarely convert.

Ok. So if you are relatively new to the backend of digital advertising, then these statements can be earth-shattering and very concerning! So you mean to tell me that my GA is only tracking 10% of my actual conversions? Yes! At Best!! But wait! It gets worse! That 10% mentioned above rarely convert! They're tire kickers, but don't regularly purchase anything.

A conversion is the goal that your campaign aims to achieve. It can be anything from a free trial download to a product purchase.

AdRoll measures two different types of conversions: click-through conversions (CTC) and view-through conversions (VTC).

  • CTC is counted when a user clicks an ad and then converts as a direct result.
  • VTC counts customers who were shown an ad and didn't click, but converted later.

So there are always a lot of buzz words around new technology, especially on the service side of business. Every service provider is eager to establish themselves as an "early adaptor" to the latest and greatest gadget, widget or Algorithm. And in the advertising industry, we are no different. Unfortunately for the end-user - the client, every ad agency's claim begins to sound the same, regardless of their core competency within the subject matter.

Like barkers's on the midway at the county fair on a hot August night, ad agencies, big and small, proclaim their superiority over the competition as clients stroll unsuspectedly by.  Just a few short years ago, Buzz words like "Programmatic", Real-Time Bidding", and "Omni-Channel" echoed across the strip, first bellowed from slick, clean-shaven, suit-wearing upscale roadies with esoteric company names like Digilant, Turn or  Rocket Fuel.

Today, a new round of buzz words are heralded into the ether by every stake holder, adding to the confusion:  "Connected TV", "Full Funnel Attribution", "Historical tracking" , "Facility Level Targeting", "Beacon Technology" and on and on. But knowing the buzz words and knowing how to use the technology are two very different things.

"Most ad agencies contract out the management of digital ad campaigns to a third party DSP because they don't have the intellectual capital in-house to do so."

To be fair, not all of these barkers are "digital ad hucksters" trying to lure you into their stall for a quick payday with little value exchanged in return. So how does a client decipher between a hustling "Digital Ad Carnie"  and a valued practitioner of this emerging technology? Well, after 7 years of fighting in the trenches at Essex Digital Platform, we've learned a few things about how to differentiate ourselves from the "digital ad huckster".

First, we are FIRST-PARTY providers! Ok, more buzz words!  Sorry! But what does first-party mean and why is it important?   First-party providers design, build, launch, manage, analyze and optimize every single campaign 100% in-house and never outsource.

Most ad agencies contract out the management of digital ad campaigns to a third party DSP because they don't have the intellectual capital in-house. This has huge ramifications to the success of your digital ad campaigns. First, it adversely effects the margin. Ad agencies who outsource these campaigns instantly make themselves the middle man and as a result, jack up the CPM of the media purchased for the client. Many agencies try to hide this practice by foregoing any audience targeting which indeed will lower the CPM, but it also drastically reduces the effectiveness of the campaign.

Second, we CUSTOMIZE every campaign we build to meet the unique needs of our clients.  We never use templates that are regularly deployed by many ad agencies using third party DSPs. This is a critical differentiation because every client has very specific marketing needs, challenges and advantages. A good digital ad campaign should be designed to take advantage of a client's unique market position through the judicious use of audience attribution and modeling.  Unfortunately, too often we see client campaigns being throttled into  "set and forget" templates by unskilled practitioners based on the lowest CPM.

And third, how INTEGRATED is your ad agency into the ever-changing Digital ad ecosystem? Are they thought leaders or are they button pushers? Our expertise has placed us in the forefront of product development with dozens of the industry’s leading technology companies who regularly rely on us to beta-test their solutions and provide unique industry insight into product development.

Does your digital ad provider have long tentacles into the industry through certifications with all the major ad exchanges, or are they merely providing access to the Google Ad Network which features access to less than a third of the online inventory? Our company is certified through EVERY major exchange giving us access to about 99% of all buyable ad inventory.

"A good digital ad campaign should be designed to take advantage of a client's unique market position through the judicious use of audience attribution and modeling.  Unfortunately, too often we see client campaigns being throttled into  "set and forget" templates by unskilled pratitioners based on the lowest CPM."

Our platform features over 500 of the industry’s best-in-class technology companies that allow us to collect and evaluate incoming omni-channel online marketing data before, during and after a campaign. This gained intelligence allows us to provide meaningful, actionable feedback to our clients.

Truth be told, there are many good, capable digital ad companies out there. Unfortunately, there are far too many "digital hucksters" also out there who only know the buzz words and not the strategies that drive long term client success. To avoid choosing the wrong digital ad vendor, make sure you ask each contender: 1.) Are they FIRST PARTY providers,  2.) How will they CUSTOMIZE your campaigns, and 3.) How INTEGRATED are they within the industry. Their answers to these questions will safely lead you to the right digital ad vendor.

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