A Focus on Clicks Could Be Damaging Your Brand
For many premium and luxury brands, the 'click' remains the primary means for measuring the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns. But the click is an inadequate metric for the task.The primary problem is that so few people click on online advertising - comScore found that 2/3s of internet users didn't click on displays ads over the course of any given month and 16% of internet users accounted for 80% of all clicks. Worse still for premium and luxury advertisers, 'clickers' were found to be younger and less affluent than 'non-clickers'.So in focusing on the behaviour of a small minority of internet users who are unlikeley to be in their target market, premium and luxury marketers are ignoring the impact their advertising is having on the majority who don't click. This could be potentially damaging for their brand.Research from comScore has confirmed that there is a 'branding effect' to online advertising. Those exposed to display campaigns are more likely to visit the advertiser's website post impression, more likely to conduct an advertiser-related keyword search and more likely to make a purchase online from that advertiser.The problem with optimising campaigns for clicks is that the creative becomes functional and often 'deal led' - a simple signpost to the brand's website with little or no opportunity for engagement with the brand. At best, this may be missing an opportunity to optimise the post impression activity observed by comScore, at worst it may have a negative impact on consumers' perceptions of the brand.So if the click is such an inadequate metric, what should replace it? A study by Microsoft, MediaMind and comScore has proposed the Dwell Score.Dwell is a measure of the amount of time that a user spends interacting with a rich media (interactive) ad. The Dwell Score is derived from multiplying this Dwell Time with the Dwell Rate, that being the proportion of users who interacted with the ad.The study found that the average Dwell Rate was 4.6 and the average dwell time was 53 seconds. This latter metric demonstrates the power of creating engaging online advertising that consumers can interact with - the brand is able to command a hefty chunk of consumers' undivided attention.High Dwell scores were found to have highly positive influences on consumer behaviour - branded searches were observed to increase up to 39%, site visits became up to 70% more likely and site engagement metrics increased too - page views by 125% and average visit length by 85%. In fact, even low Dwell Score campaigns had positive influences on consumer behaviour, although clearly much weaker than those observed for ads that achieved higher engagement.In addition, click thru rate was found to be a highly unreliable indicator of Dwell Score. Campaigns that generated high CTRs didn't necessarily deliver high dwell rates and vice versa, so brand's can't rely on CTR as a proxy for Dwell Score.Premium and luxury brands marketers are careful to protect and enhance the equity of their brands in other media and and the lesson of this research is that they should take the same mantra into their online advertising campaigns. By investing in highly engaging and interactive rich media advertising for their target audiences they can create the double benefit of enhancing those consumers' perceptions of their brand and driving the right sort of post impression clicks to their site.