Understanding the true value of Display Campaigns

August 3, 2018


One of the largest pain points that is observed within the agency is understanding the true value of Display campaigns. Two questions that are regularly asked are, “Is Display incremental?” and, “Would we have got this sale anyway without Display campaigns running?

As a lot more focus is placed upon the post-impression element with Display we often find situations where a sale is being claimed by multiple channels – which is where marketers can often doubt whether it is incremental. This could be for example, a PPC campaign claiming the last click and then Display claiming the last sale through post-impression rules (typically a 24-hour or 48-hour post-impression window). Obviously, this creates a scenario where businesses have spent multiple times for the same sale and the different disparate platforms are claiming it, such as Google AdWords, and Google Display Network.

R.O.EYE’s belief is that there is value in the channel, but only when it’s adjudged and managed correctly. For readers who are unfamiliar with the scope of a strong Display program, our customer journey funnel (fig 1) demonstrates the techniques we use when managing campaigns moving customers from awareness > consideration > in-market, and then sale.


To fully understand Display, the way channels are attributed has to change

If you’ve been following R.O.EYE and it’s blog then you’ll have observed that we have our own platform which uses a data-driven attribution model – our own algorithm – which considers all channels in the path to sale. This covers all converting and non-converting journeys, the time it takes, and then allocates credit towards those marketing touchpoints. Due to the very nature of Display advertising it tends to be favoured on a last click and therefore, often, this model will over value the channel.

In a data-driven model sense, as it looks at all touchpoints, the performance of the channel can be negatively rewarded. Reasons for this could be because a campaign is being shown too many times, detracting a user from converting, or it may be that the strategy of the Display campaign is to show retargeting ads to every user that has visited the site. It’s recommended that in order to start building the perfect campaign that the following should be looked at:

    • Be relevant

– Ensure campaigns are targeting the right audience with the right message. There’s no point dynamically advertising out of stock or low-margin goods. Turn off campaigns if they are delivering a poor customer experience or are detracting a customer from purchasing

    • Be valuable

– The ability to upsell, cross-sell and promote complimentary goods really shouldn’t go amiss in any Display strategy. Target your customer with valuable content, or perhaps with a discount.

    • Be Testing

– As marketers we obsess with the ‘devil in the detail’. Always ensure you have a test plan and that Display compliments your over-arching strategy.

Ending with an Example

An example of where a Display campaign can have a negative score in a data-driven attributed way is shown in Fig 2.

Bad display campaign

The blue dots indicate how activity would be demonstrated in something like Google Analytics on a last click basis. The yellow line indicates how activity was performing when taking into account the whole customer journey – something that marketers wouldn’t usually see in a rudimentary tracking solution.

Coincidentally R.O.EYE took over activity on the 9th April, three weeks before the spike (nudge, wink). Furthermore, data has been augmented in order to protect client’s privacy.

In closing

First, ensure you’re looking at Display not just on a last click. When you see the value it can add further up the funnel, you can start taking each of the 6 strategic points (remember the funnel from fig 1?) and start prospecting to new audiences.

Keep it relevant, valuable, and ensure you’re testing.

Do reach out if any of the themes highlighted appear particularly daunting. Equally, R.O.EYE are able to give advice and best practice to anything regarding data-driven attribution.