The Digital Difference

Display Advertising is Dead…maybe we cant measure it properly.

Posted on: January 30, 2009

Max Kalehoff recently wrote about the purpose of online advertising ( and Kory Kredit also wrote about the death of display advertising (  I read these with some amusement as the real issue is purpose and measurement. All advertising should have a purpose and a measurement goal behind it and an understanding of the steps a prospect takes after seeing the ad. This is where most of the digital industry is falling over itself.  Companies run display advertising  with simple measurements, but there are a  myriad of next steps , some highly measureable. For example lets go on a journey;

                      So a customer sees an ad and can do a number of things;  clickthrough the ad, jump to a search engine and navigate to a site and buy/learn, jump to a review site for the product, navigate to an affiliate site for a coupon and then nav to your site..research,leave and then come back through any of the prior activities. So the question is how do you set up your measurement system for attribution when there is complexity.

At a recent search conference (search engine insider), most companies seemed to have 30 day cookies and no attribution measurements at all, in fact they werent even aware they existed.  Unless this changes digital will be come dumb. move to last click , drive more bidding in search and forget the principle of how you influence and presuade within the digital navigation path. Metrics companies  need to get into gear and truly fix the digital measurement problem.

One other thought …imagine you make your ad engageable, then you can track the interactions with the ad relative to clickthroughs and give the ability to measure latent visits and track sales. You may find that there are way more people engaging with ads than clicking through and sales from latency are as large as straight click throughs.  If you want to learn more drop me a line at linked in below. The essence is you need to be creative in your measurement systems as well as the creative itself. (


8 Responses to "Display Advertising is Dead…maybe we cant measure it properly."

Glad to see you are blogging, I always hoped you would get the time to do so.

So true about display advertising and the measurement of it!…. A few more thoughts. Marketing teams are so focused on getting the campaigns out the door quickly with a creative and unique look and feel, they dont spend the time thinking about how to measure it closely and accurately on the back end. Thinking about it is hard because all the metrics you need really can’t come from just one measurement system. Between website analytics, campaign banner tracking, banner engagement metrics, trending of search traffic online, all these measurements need to be brought into one dashboard. Create that dashboard template and I think that will make it easier to incorporate all the other pieces of data.

Welcome to the blog-o-sphere…

I couldn’t agree more with attribution modeling and purpose.

Unless we can eliminate the narrow view of simple clickstream measurement and get to the heart of understanding where and how buying decisions are altered, while allowing for the fact that in this large ecosystem impacts are multi-variate, the display industry will die (and not because it doesn’t work).

It is far to easy to rely on the simple measurements that clickstream analytics allow. The challenge is looking at all of your media in market and critically analyzing interactions between them and weighting the “effect” of that media on the eventual decision appropriately. Then you can optimize the “weighted results” and truly drive bottom line growth instead of just off the last action. Last action optimization can lead you to jump to conclusions that aren’t going to impact the bottom line growth as it will the line in your excel chart measuring last action performance.

I definitely agree with you, and most marketers do not do a good job of measuring engagement vs. CTR. However, what, if any, tools are there to measure impressions–i.e. a user seeing the visual logo or product from a company, sub-consciously registering it, but still doing nothing as far as interacting with the ad?

Seeing the same “banner ad is dead” posting all over the place. Many who are saying that have never run a significant banner campaign to have seen all of the action and data that comes with it. True, the majority of view don’t immediately click or act, but the discovery of post-view activity is amazing. Don’t understand why the follow on analytics are so difficult for companies investing $MM.

You need to have tags on your banners and also on your shop cart (or whatever your success factor is)
so that latent effects are measured. From my perspective its not a great metric for proof of sale but it does at least tell you that your media is in the right spot. If you get no post impression results then the media you have bought is not in the right place.

Welcome to the blogosphere Gary.

The smart marketers will drive this change and hopefully be rewardedwith thebest jobs in the online space.

The web analytics systems need to do this- or data warehouses without it one of the key benefits of online advertising is lost. Some of the advertising opportunities have not even been thought of yet as new digital platforms will be around..this will all need to be measureable.

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  • None
  • digitaldifference: The web analytics systems need to do this- or data warehouses without it one of the key benefits of online advertising is lost. Some of the advertisin
  • digitaldifference: The smart marketers will drive this change and hopefully be rewardedwith thebest jobs in the online space.
  • kristasphere: Welcome to the blogosphere Gary.


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