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Post-Impression Conversions and You

Measuring The Value of a View

Paying for ads that don't convert is the worst.



Anyone who has managed a display campaign in AdWords knows the sinking feeling of hundreds of thousands of views, coupled with shockingly low conversion rates, and no real reason why.

At Good-Loop, we talk lots about "Badvertising". And as a video marketing platform, we see plenty of candidates. But the feelings of display network despair? Welcome to "Sadvertising".

When there's an issue with display marketing platforms, we usually hear these kind of conversations:

"It's because our ads are appearing on all these mobile apps", says Fiona.

"No, it's because our ads suck and design didn't follow the brief", says Mary.

"What if it's our audience that's to blame, our segment must be off", says Tom.

"Maybe our conversion tracking is broken, i'll check tag manager", says Scott.

"MAYBE IT'S YOUR FACE!", yells Brenda.

In digital advertising and marketing we're never all working from the exact same definition of "conversion". In a world where CPC is king, CRO is queen, and acronym bingo is everyone's favourite hobby, spending money on an advert that didn't lead to a direct conversion isn't the easiest to justify. As the industry has continually moved towards all things digital, some of the mantras of the old Madison Avenue masters have fell all too easily by the wayside.

In at No.1 on this list? Acceptance that not all advertising leads directly to a sale.

Just as a giant Coca-Cola billboard doesn't make everyone flock to the nearest supermarket, neither does your display ad make the viewer/website visitor instantly compelled to buy everything you have. But what it does is keep you firmly planted in their thoughts. 


What's the ROI on my visitors attention?

ROI on Thinking

Actually, it's not as hard to calculate this as you might think. Welcome to the world of Post-Impression/view-through tracking, your very own "what happened next?" round in the gameshow that is your display advertising. It's not as "hard" a metric as a direct conversion, but gives a far better picture of the overall health of your advertising performance. And more importantly, it gives you a clear idea if your display campaign is actually achieving it's main goal - constant awareness, that leads to site visits.

So, why track post-impression conversions?

  • Correlate and measure your display campaigns against PPC and SEO presence
    If your post-impression conversions are below 80-90%, it's usually a good indicator that your PPC and SEO teams aren't as aligned as they should be. Measuring and correlating post-impression conversions allows teams to make sure they're working in the same direction, and that the right kinds of visitor are being steered to appropriate content. 
  • Identify your average conversion cycle
    If you notice a difference in the conversion percentage between, for example, a 7 day, 30 day, and 60 day lookback window, this can be powerful information that informs your marketing strategy. By connecting how many views and visits a person typically needs before converting, it's easy to adjust budgets and ad spend to sync with this data and optimise your spend. 
  • Create a coherent buying journey
    From the above, you can create a buying journey that strengthens the value of your brand in line with your conversion percentage, and average conversion cycle. Is a visitor coming towards the end of 30 days, and your data shows that after 30 days they rarely return? Ramp up those ads! Deliver top of funnel content! Find similar audiences! Delivering this experience means that by the time they reach any sales funnel, your prospect has already cascaded down a few steps to get there. That means your leads will not only be better quality, they're also going to be better qualified.

Ok. How do I get started?

You can find this data via the Google Display Network (GDN) reporting feature (non-text only, rich media included), and can be found in multi-channel funnel reports in Google Analytics. Unfortunately, not everyone can activate GDN impression reporting. To be eligible, you'll need the following:

  • An AdWords account, with a live display campaign.
  • Conversion tracking is implemented and linked in your AdWords and premium Analytics account.
  • You're handling your ads via DoubleClick (Campaign or Bid Manager).
  • You have a tracking code that supports GDN (good housekeeping, mention it in your privacy policy). 
  • Ask your premium Analytics account manager to activate it, and link your DCM/DBM account.
Once you've done this, your multi channel funnel overview will show impression assisted conversions! You'll also benefit from click assisted conversions, and rich media assisted conversions, so you can break down in even further detail how your website is performing.

I don't use DoubleClick/Premium Analytics. What now?

Unfortunately, you're going to struggle to get the same level of detail and insight. However, that doesn't mean there's nothing at all you can do! If you've linked your AdWords and Analytics, you can still get impression data from campaign level, and drill down.

  • Click AdWords > Campaigns
  • Under the Explorer tab, select 'Clicks'
  • Below the graph, you should be able to see impression data by campaign/ad group. 
It's not the greatest, but it can be a great starting point in your mission to value the quiet post-impression conversion.
Of course, display advertising only really works when you reach the right audience to start with. Tired of impressions being wasted on kids apps, low traffic sites, fan forums and irrelevant areas? So were we.
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