Executive Overview from C3 Metrics’ Labs
C3 Metrics analyzed a subset of several billion display impressions across its client base to determine what percentage of display ads are actually seen by consumers within industry standards for an “impression.” The data showed that 68% of all display ads analyzed, which are recorded by ad servers as impressions, were never actually seen by consumers. Because click-through rates, a primary metrics for display ad performance, are calculated based on impressions, C3 Metrics’ Labs report indicates that click-through reporting may be off by as much as 179%. This report underscores the need for display impression data beyond current standards, which record a server request as an impression yet provide no data on whether an ad fully loaded into the browser. Without that data, it is impossible to determine if the ad was ever seen by the consumer, and therefore leads to inaccurate reporting of display ad performance.
The C3 Metrics’ Labs study found that 68% of the time, ads which get fully loaded are never actually seen by consumers. C3 Metrics also matched its data to third party ad server data, determining that only 88% of ads that get served, actually load completely on a user’s computer. Five percent of the time, ads are served by iframe, which indicates that it is not possible to determine whether those ads are seen or not.
Digital marketers need an exit strategy — a purchase funnel exit strategy to be more exact. That’s one of the takeaways from the latest C3 Metrics’ Labs report for the second quarter of 2011. C3 Metrics analyzed a subset of data across its client base totaling 50,000 online transactions in Q2 to define the last interaction before a consumer exits the purchase funnel and transacts online. The data showed that 37% of all transactions ended with a brand term search as the very last action before purchase. Advertisers still using last click attribution models for ad measurement would attribute more than a third of media credit to search based on these results. However, when a purchase funnel finishes with a brand term search, it’s not causal to revenue…it’s simply navigational.
“Real causal influence comes from upper-funnel and mid-funnel marketing stimuli driving more consumer transactions all the way through the funnel, as seen with Full-Funnel Attribution™,” according to C3 Metrics CEO Mark Hughes.
The C3 Metrics’ Labs study found that in 37% of all online transactions analyzed, brand search was the very last media source as the consumer exited the purchase funnel. C3 Metrics CEO Mark Hughes elaborated, “If an advertiser is still using last click analytics, they would mistakenly think that brand search was responsible for a third of their results. But even if they wanted to scale that by tripling brand search budget, they couldn’t achieve revenue growth by increasing budget for non-causal media sources.”
C3 Metrics analyzed a subset of data across its client base totaling 50,000 online transactions to determine channels of media originating transactions. The data showed that nearly half of all transactions analyzed were originated by a display ad. This report underscores the role that display can play in driving initial interest and the value of investing in upper-funnel and mid-funnel tactics when finally capturing insights of Full-Funnel Attribution™.
The C3 Metrics’ Labs study found that in 44% of all online transactions analyzed, display was the first media source, which originated the transaction funnel, ultimately delivering the 50,000 conversions. C3 Metrics CEO Mark Hughes elaborated, “If an advertiser is still using last click/last view analytics, they never see this kind of data because every online ad in the upper funnel is hidden—and given zero credit. Since clients using C3 Metrics have insight to which media plant the seeds of revenue that initiates a consumer transaction, they reallocate media dollars to sources driving incremental revenue versus competing at the bottom of the funnel.” C3 Metrics’ Labs results underscore that, when measured thoroughly with full-funnel attribution, display has much more value than ever expected. In fact, of all 50,000 transactions analyzed, only 13% were converted by a display ad.