When Google reported surprisingly strong revenue growth last week, executives said it was thanks to the resilience of search marketing. The company hopes to have the same results with the display ad business.
This week, Google plans to roll out a new tool for large advertisers to gauge the success of their display buys beyond the most common metrics of impressions and clicks. The tool crunches data from thousands of users to figure out how many searches a campaign caused post-viewing, as well as how many visits to the marketer’s Web site. It then compares this with a control set of users not exposed to the display ads. By comparing the two samples, Google believes it can isolate how much of search and site traffic increases can be directly attributed to banner ads as opposed to other marketing efforts.
The tool, Campaign Insights, is part of Google’s twin approach to growing the overall display ad business and its chunk of it.
Part of Google’s overall strategy is to make it easier to buy banners. The linchpin of this is DoubleClick Ad Exchange, rolled out last month. Another focus is in measurement, as Google tries to come up with a way to make display as accountable as search when just .1 percent of display ads generate clicks. A recent comScore study found the number of ad clickers is in sharp decline.
“Helping advertisers get performance they can measure is a big part of the strategy,” said Brad Bender, product management director, display, Google Content Network.
Google is rolling out the free Campaign Insights only to advertisers running campaigns on the Google Content Network of thousands of sites. It said it has no plans to offer it through its DoubleClick ad-serving unit.
Studies have shown that display ads greatly impact search behavior. Google rival Microsoft last year released Engagement Mapping, a tool that assigns different value for search clicks, giving more weight to advertising a user saw before clicking a search ad rather than attributing all the value to the last click.
Google is using data it collects in its ad network and installations of the Google toolbar to make its calculations, according to Bender. Campaign Insights is available to large advertising clients in the U.S. and U.K.