The number of clicks on a display ad is typically one of the most regarded metrics in measuring a display campaign’s success; however, this metric is usually one of the least significant. If clicks and CTR  are the only ways you determine that a display campaign is working, then you are selling your display campaigns short.


viewability_2Clicks are only one way in which users engage in your brand’s message. Digital technology has vastly improved and continues to be able to provide better insights into display advertising effectiveness. One way into how you can actually better measure success is through viewability and interaction.

Whilst a click is instantaneous, you can actually measure a user’s pattern of hovering over an ad (consuming the message). You can also measure how long a user views the ad, and how well they interact with the ad.

Responsive Reach Media Ads

Another way you can measure display marketing effectiveness is through the use of various types of creative units such as Responsive Reach Media ads (RRM). These ads often contain a video asset – but can combine all sorts of elements within an ad unit.

For example, imagine a florist serving an interactive ad. It allows users in an ‘engaged’ audience to be able to scroll through various bridal bouquet options. Imagine an auto dealer serving a different vehicle based on weather using a weather widget. The possibilities are endless!

One of the best things about digital marketing is that everything can be measured and reported on. Metrics can be provided on how long a user views a video, how long they interact with various elements of an RRM ad, and more. Social widgets allow users to be able to visit engage in your brand in other ways than just through your website.


Display marketing is most effective within a multi-channel digital marketing approach, which is another reason why looking at the click metric can undermine success.

Different marketing solutions should be utilized to create multiple touch points with your ideal customers anywhere alone the path to purchase. Check out this great interactive tool from Think with Google: Journey to Online Purchase.

This tool allows you to illustrate how various touch points (a paid search ad, email marketing, content, etc.) facilitate the process of a potential customer actually converting.

thinkingTake a step back and consider what you want your potential customers to do

How does somebody research your product or service? How do they find your company? Why would they choose to purchase from you than from a competitor? How do you get a customer to come back to your company?

Where to Focus

Paid search is one way to convert users with intent. Organic search often facilitates the initial research process. Display ads – leveraging audience targeting – can reach users at various points through the process when coupled with relevant messaging. Remessaging and remarketing can bring users who have shown interest back to your site causing them to reengage. Why not use your own data to your advantage? Using your attribution model reports in Google Analytics will allow you to map out each channel’s effectiveness. Here’s an overview: Attribution modeling.

If you only ever focused on clicks, but never on what users actually did on your website once they arrived, you’d be missing the plot out of the story. For example, if you have an outstanding CTR of 0.13% but a bounce rate of 85% on your landing page, average time spent on page 0:30 seconds – what is the likelihood that your campaign is effective? It is certainly bringing people through the door, but people are jumping out the window thereafter!

Prior to running a display campaign – you must decide what you want your users to do once they land on your site? Do you want them to consume your content, sign up for a newsletter, or purchase something online?

Make sure you have a concrete goal in mind. It’s okay to have several goals, but these have to be somewhat easy to accomplish. Furthermore, your site should be easy to navigate.

What to Consider

Consider looking at your reach. Look at your ‘reach & frequency’ reports in Google Analytics under Audience and add a segment with paid traffic to determine whether users are really interested in your brand. The biggest compliment a visitor can provide is a return visit and continual visits because they keep re-engaging and facilitating the beginning of a new sales cycle.

Site Traffic lift should also help you gauge if your display advertising is effective. This shows that the users who were shown the ad were interested enough to visit your site. Consider measuring view-through conversions. A simple pixel can be on your site pages that will collect data about users who viewed your display ad, didn’t click, but proceed to visit your website anyways.

Don’t Give Up

Continue experimenting with different creative messages, different types of display ads, and your brand messaging. You will see what works and to also reengage your audience. In the ever-changing online marketing space, you can’t put all of your focus on clicks . You have to look at your audience’s entire story.

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