Publishers Hire ComScore To Kill Off The Click-Through

Today, the Online Publishers Association published a report called “The Silent Click: Building Brands Online.”

(See the presentation >)

It’s a Power Point presentation designed to move beyond the “click” as a measure of online advertising success.  And not a moment too soon.

In the beginning, the glory of Internet advertising was supposed to be how measurable everything was online.

Unlike their counterparts in the the print and broadcasting mediums, online publishers would be able to tell their ad clients precisely how many people actually engaged with their ads. Online publishers did this by showing their advertisers how many times readers clicked on ads.

For years, this was supposed to be the selling point that finally to steered big brand advertisers away from old media and onto the Internet where consumers were spending more and more of their time.  The one big problem was that even Internet users who are interested in the product being advertised don’t click on ads, so publishers aren’t getting paid.

Which doesn’t mean online ads don’t work.  On the contrary: They work fine.   As with newspaper and TV ads, consumers can get a brand message just by seeing the ad.  Clicking or not clicking does not actually indicate a consumer’s interest in an advertised product.  But the problem for publishers is that after years of being sold on them, Web advertisers have grown quite accustomed to pay for ads based on clicks.

To address this, the 47 huge publishers in the Online Publishers Association have taken a page from old media. The people who sell TV airtime and print ads never had “clicks” to rely on, so over the years, they’ve  commissioned companies like Nieslen or ComScore to publish reports showing exactly how an ad on the back cover of Vanity Fair or the first commercial five minutes into “Friends” can lift sales and brand awareness.

Today, the OPA has done the same, publishing “The Silent Click: Building Brands Online.”

The OPA says ComScore  “assessed 80 of the biggest branding campaigns across 200 of the most trafficked sites over a month’s time analyzing consumer behaviors of those Internet users who were exposed to display advertising.” The study measured how, after viewing these campaigns, consumers subsequently searched for the advertisers’ brands, visited advertisers’ site, and spent their money on advertisers’s brands.

Here were the key-findings, lifted word-for-word from an OPA’s presentation:

  • There are more relevant ways to measure the branding impact of online ad campaigns beyond clicks which is a Direct Response metric

  • Search + Site Visitation + e-Commerce Spending [measured over time to account for latency effects] = a smart formula for measuring display advertising effectiveness

  • One in 5 exposed to display advertising conduct related searches for the advertised brands

  • One in 3 exposed to display advertising visit the advertised brands sites

  • E-commerce spending in the advertised categories was significantly higher among online audiences exposed to the largest ad campaigns

  • Environment Matters: There are differences in audience composition and behavior of those exposed to display advertising on content sites

  • Audiences exposed to display advertising are more engaged with advertisers sites staying longer and consuming more pages

  • Audiences exposed to display advertising that visit advertisers sites have higher incomes than their typical visitors and this positively impacts related online spending

  • Visitors exposed to display advertising spend more on e-commerce spending in the advertised categories especially true for those viewing display ads seen on OPA Member sites

  • On OPA News Sites The dollar lift for Travel was +58%, compared to +26% on Top 50 News sites; CPG spending up +85% versus +28% for Top 50

  • On OPA Sports Sites Travel spending after exposure was +34% compared to +8% on the Top 50; Telecom spending more than doubled (128%) versus 18% for the Top 50 sports sites

  • On OPA Entertainment Sites CPG spending after ad exposure was up +64% on OPA Entertainment sites versus +13% on Top 50 Entertainment sites

  • On OPA Business News Sites The dollar lift for Tech spending was +60% compared to +3% for the Top 50; Telecom spending was more than double (149%) versus +59% for the Top 50