At a recent marketing conference we gave a presentation about the emergence of Programmatic Advertising. During our introduction, we asked the group by a show of hands, how many people had clicked on a banner ad in the last 30 days. No one raised their hand, and that is exactly what we expected.

Online Advertising is an Interruption

First thing to understand is that no matter how compelling your message or how specific your targeting, online display advertising (purchased programmatically or direct) is an interruption of your prospect’s web experience. Online display is not search, where the user is actively looking for your product or service, so pinning all of your marketing hopes and dreams on clicks sets you up for tremendous failure.

Make an Impression

The goal of online display (including banners, video, social, and native units) is to make an impression on your target audience – introduce a product or service, change a prospect’s understanding, incentivize someone to make an inquiry or purchase, or remind them of an action they haven’t finished. When you stop worrying about clicks, you can focus on what really matters – delivering the right message to the right person at the right time anywhere online.

Track Post-View Conversions

Once you’ve made this strategic shift, it is critical to have the ability to track Post-View Conversions. For example, say you are a frequent business traveler reading a review of rental car companies or other travel related content. You might see an ad for Hertz rental cars as part of a frequent business traveler targeted campaign. Even though you probably won’t click on the ad, if the message is compelling enough, studies show you will remember it. You may Google Hertz later. You may go directly to their website. You may see the ad another 5-15 times and eventually book a rental with them. In order to properly attribute the online ad campaign’s effectiveness, Hertz must be able to measure that first ad’s effect on your purchase. That’s the post-view conversion. By placing a cookie on the user’s computer the first time they see an ad, you can also measure when that user takes a conversion action – like renting a car.

Our Experience

We see this play out in our programmatic advertising campaigns every day. Over the last five years across dozens of campaigns and hundreds of millions of impressions with brands from a variety industries, we saw over 80% of all conversions result from post-view. It’s a new online advertising world – one where clicks don’t matter as much as they once did.

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