South African brands that focus only on measuring impressions and click throughs in their digital advertising campaigns are not getting a full view of the returns they are getting from their online advertising budgets.
That’s according to Ian Drummond, Mediamark’s digital sales manager. He says that clicks and impressions are only one metric for online measurement and do not give advertisers a true reflection of their success in engaging with their audiences, which means in turn that they don’t have a complete view of the influence digital has on consumer purchasing decisions.
Drummond says that engagement in digital media – as in traditional media – is best measured by looking at the amount of time users spend with the medium. In online, two easy ways to measure engagement are average page duration and average view duration.
“In traditional media, publishers and broadcasters have customarily based their rates on time-related measures, for example the length of time a consumer spends with a radio station, print publication, or looking at a billboard,” says Drummond. “It is a direct, simple way to measure and attribute the impact a channel has on consumer purchasing decisions.”
Engagement with advertising content is highest in channels that deliver rich content that enhances the audience’s lives. This means that advertisers need to build highly engaging and entertaining rich media solutions, or to move beyond the banner and integrate with meaningful content on the site to engage with users rather than just sell to them, says Drummond. Relevant native advertising, aligned with editorial content such as the current Renault Innovation channel is very effective at engaging consumers, he adds.
Editorial in the site that is carrying the advertising and the format that it is displayed in, is key to the level of engagement with ads. For instance, Howzit MSN’s short snippets of information in an image rich environment promote more engagement than environments that immerse readers in lengthy text. According to Effective Measure, Howzit MSN ranks higher than the industry average in engagement metrics, with five times more time spent on page and double the industry average when it comes to average view duration.
“Digital publishers have sold their products based on clicks only, to their detriment – by this measure online has been categorised as a conversion-only medium. While online is great at conversion, the medium is often forgotten when it comes to brand building,” says Drummond.
“Looking beyond the click into engagement metrics will ensure that advertisers measure media equally and allocate budget according to time spent engaged with the medium and, ultimately, its brand-building power.”