UPDATED: December 10th, 2021
Attribution and giving credit where credit is due
It is still the case for much of Digital Marketing when it comes to reporting that 100% of the credit goes to the last-clicked channel.
This can be a stumbling block at times for teams investing in and trying to measure the value of a strong digital display initiative and traditional display.
This is because spending is easily measured and attributable to specific efforts, while the value returned from that money spent is often more diffused.
In no other channel is this more the case than Prospecting Display.
'Display me the money!'
It makes complete sense when an advertiser boosts their display budget that they expect to see an on-platform result beyond more impressions and clicks.
If you're this advertiser and you give a darn about revenue and justifying your ad spend then naturally you'll want to see attributable, on-platform revenue grow in step with your burgeoning budget.
While on-platform conversion activity, positive revenue growth and ROAS are not an impossibility, these metrics should actually be considered secondary to the positive impact your display initiatives are having on three other channels: Direct, Organic Search and Paid Search.
Why we run display ads in the first place
Now is a good time to stop and think about why we run display ads in the first place. It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but the reason should not be to get display conversions.
Granted in some verticals, with some products and depending on the budget levels you can, of course, achieve a steady stream on-platform conversion activity, but if you stopped there you'd still only be measuring small chunk of the value.
This approach could lead your team to inadvertently undervalue display and make it more difficult to communicate its value to key stakeholders.
This is especially true for display campaigns with tighter budgets, or campaigns with newer brands trying to expand their name recognition. They might try it once, not see the flood of conversion activity directly attributable to ad clicks they'd hoped for and declare the whole experiment a bust.
More likely, they might compare what appears to be a meager display ROI to a burgeoning return in their Organic, Direct or Social channels and decide the juice is not worth the squeeze.
But, if you were to stop there, you might accidentally be stopping the flow of the best juice - a big, pink grapefruit of value that can help fill a variety of glasses.
Quick Digital Marketing Funnel Review
Prospecting Display is an efficient way of generating new marketing leads and brand interest, while Remarketing helps draw potential customers into further engagement with your brand.
Display's primary purpose
The primary purpose of a prospecting display campaign is to raise the awareness and visibility of your brand within the communities you serve.
Generating awareness through prospecting display is a super important activity, but it is a top-of-the-funnel activity, thus one that seldom gets the easy accolades of last touch initiatives like Paid & Organic Search, Social Media or Email.
When we're prospecting we're doing just that - reaching out to prospective customers within your market who may have never heard of your brand in hopes that, now that they have, they'll take action in the future, and that future action is very often taken through a different channel.
Display's secondary purpose
Display's secondary purpose is to keep your brand top of mind within your market via remarketing. It is remarketing that typically generates most on-platform display conversions.
Remarketing display is more likely to obtain attributable conversions because we're now reaching out to users who've already expressed interest. These users are further down the funnel towards taking action.
A good display or video campaign builds brand awareness and affinity, while keeping your brand at the forefront of customer consideration. Only after that comes on-platform conversion and revenue growth.
Even then, attributable conversions and on-platform revenue are both just the frosting. The value of elevating your brand, filling the top of your funnel (generating demand), and contributing to the health of your other channels are the cake.
If you're looking to elevate your brand and increase relevant traffic to your website it might just be time to give display advertising a go.