Look to off-platform channels when measuring display campaigns

It's tempting to collect data from the display advertising platforms as a measure of how well your campaigns are performing. But your prospects' journey doesn't stop after clicking an ad, so neither should your view of their progress.

Measuring display campaigns by spending is straightforward and easy to assign to campaigns, but the value returned from that spending can be difficult to pin down. This is maybe most pertinent for display campaigns.

It is still the case for much of Digital Marketing that all the conversion credit goes to the last-clicked channel. This can be a stumbling block at times for teams investing in and trying to prove the value of display campaigns.

Display Me The Money!

It makes sense that when you boost your display budget, you expect to see an on-platform result. Now is a good time to stop and think about why we run display ads in the first place. The reason should not be to get display conversions.

The primary purpose of a prospecting display campaign is to raise the awareness and visibility of your brand within the communities you serve.

Its secondary purpose is to keep your brand top of mind within your market via remarketing. And this generates most on-platform display conversions.

When we're prospecting, we're reaching users within your market who may have never heard of your brand. The hope is that they'll take action in the future, but that often happens through a different channel.

Remarketing display is more likely to get more 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 awareness and affinity. Only after that comes on-platform conversion and revenue growth.

A lot of this has to do with targeting and obtaining more higher-value goals. Even so, it's all frosting compared to the value of elevating your brand, filling the top of your funnel (generating demand), and contributing to the health of your other channels.

What Metrics Can We Use To Point To Display Success?

Viewable Impressions. This is a simple, quick way to see if your spend is reaching more eligible eyeballs.

Product-Relevant Onsite Interest. Find this info in Google Analytics Behavior Reports for product- or service-specific content.

Direct, Organic and Paid Search Channel Health. Display assists these three channels most by creating more awareness in users. Later, they go straight to your website (Direct) or perform a branded search using a search engine and then click on a result or text ad (Organic & Paid Search).

Branded Search Demand. The influence of display on branded search can be a bit more unpredictable. In general, a display campaign that's strong on brand should help generate more new search inquiries that include your brand. Look for evidence of branded search growth in your Google Analytics Organic Search > Keywords Report and filter using your brand as a term. Google Analytics redacts much of the keyword data, so look to your Google Search Console as well.

Targeted Conversion Activity & Revenue. On-Platform and Off. Finally, use targeted conversion activity and revenue to see what impact a display campaign is having both on-platform and in the peripheral channels that display so often assists.

Taking a broader-picture view of all the available data throughout a person's journey through your campaign and available resources should help identify the best-performing links in the chain, as well as highlight issues. From there, you'll be prepared to defend (or modify) your budget and each element of the campaign.

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