Great post by Gian Fulgoni of ComScore and very timely!
After over a decade in the digital advertising industry, I don’t find the click emphasis to be a fascination as much as a perpetual crutch. Continuing to nibble at our heels, clickthrough has really just been the path of least resistance. I’ve heard this from many colleagues:
• Ad sales execs seeking to close business tread uneasily and rarely bring up alternate success measures that require too much thought or set-up
• Agencies attempt to educate clients about such matters but that doesn’t always work (relationship/credibility/pick your battles/technical complexity)
• Client-side marketers are all too often organizationally overwhelmed and only now starting to internalize meaningful digital measurement process
• Technology vendors who often have the most expertise, ironically tend to be perceived as the most unreliable sources with their marketing often ahead of actual capabilities
For some reason, easy-to-measure clickthrough are meticulously collected, analyzed and reported. It is as if through the mass willing suspension of disbelief that somehow the display clicks might conceivably convert or are implicitly valuable. The ongoing independent reports from ComScore suggest otherwise to anyone listening. While this post rightfully educates all of us about the troublesome reliance on clickthrough, it also raises the opportunity to raise awareness about passive incremental response.
Instead of skipping down the funnel past post-view response and straight on to purchase, consider the in-between, i.e. non-clicker viewthrough. Even in Gian’s post, viewthrough is not mentioned explicitly but post-view reponse is only suggested in the context of conversion – this is part of the problem. Yet, in practice we all know that very few clickers will convert (super promo-oriented messaging aside).
This measurement incongruity routinely happens whenever post-view activity is mentioned. In so doing, the more executionally challenged, but likely valuable viewthrough response remains unmeasured and therefore invisible.
It is analogous to calculating auto mileage looking at RPMs (engine speed) and not MPH (land speed).
The reality is that implementing an alternative quantitative measurement like viewthrough pushes many marketers to the edge, requiring patience, precise technical set-up and methodical execution. To Gian’s point clickthroughs are fast, cheap and easy to measure; they’re also potentially misleading for all the reasons ComScore and others have researched. What’s more, viewthrough impact accrues over time, which flies in the face of the commonplace action bias to optimize campaigns on something.
So while probably not that final Canterburian cleric’s foot-on-the-neck of clickthrough, viewthrough might at least be one of the assasinative knights.
An industry appeal to standardize or define viewthrough can be found here http://goo.gl/LA8Iv