The Digital Dilemma: How to Determine Campaign Effectiveness?

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comScore has been polling major brands such as Best Buy (see above) about their biggest concerns when it comes to digital marketing. Their biggest concern is how to ensure effectiveness: where their ads delivered in-view, to the right target audience, in the right geography, in a brand-safe environment and absent of fraudulent delivery?

It’s an issue the research firm addresses in a new white paper, released this week to support its Validated Campaign Essentials offering to validate digital campaign delivery.[more]

“Fraud is the elephant in the digital room,” the report finds, noting that companies are paying for display ads to appear on “objectionable content” sites dedicated to pornography, piracy and malware.

The vCE Charter Study quantified sub-optimal ad delivery across key dimensions including in-view, audience delivery, geographic delivery, brand safety and fraud, framing the relative importance of each for twelve national brands including Sprint, Ford, Kellogg, Allstate, Chrysler, Discover, E-Trade, Kimberly Clark and Kraft.

“This is the first study to bring twelve leading marketers together to holistically understand how online advertising is delivered, allowing us to begin to diagnose sources of waste and identify solutions for improving the value that all players in the ecosystem can extract from the digital advertising market,” said Linda Abraham, comScore co-founder and CMO.

A preview of the study released in January reported that 31% the 1.8 billion ad impressions purchased by these companies were not seen at all and between 3 and 10% are shown to bots and spiders rather than humans.

Additional Findings:

• Targeting Audiences Beyond Demographics Can be Powerful. Campaigns that had very basic demographic targeting objectives performed well with regard to hitting those targets.

• The Content in Which An Ad Runs Can Create Problems for Any Brand. Of the campaigns analyzed, 72% had at least some impressions that were delivered adjacent to objectionable content.

• Fraud is the Elephant in the Digital Room. An average of 0.16% of impressions across all campaigns was delivered to non-human agents from the IAB’s spiders and bots list.

• Digital Ad Economics: The Good Guys Aren’t Necessarily Winning. Neither ad visibility nor the quality of the audience reached is currently reflected in the economics of digital advertising.

“Until now, neither side of the industry has had a clear picture of ad delivery, resulting in a lack of confidence in digital’s ability to deliver on its promise as the most measurable advertising medium,” said Abraham. “If a digital campaign rating does not also take into account whether or not the ad had the opportunity to be seen, then the metric fails to deliver a true apples-to-apples comparison to all other media.”

This barrel of apples underscores the importance of brand safety and fraud for all marketers.

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