The Fix Is In for Display Ads


3. Find a new way to measure efficacy: I'm not the first person to suggest that the click measurement just doesn't make sense any more, but there isn't widespread unanimity on what should replace it. To truly measure an ad campaign's success requires the measure of multiple factors including search data (a recent Forrester study shows that audiences are just about as likely to do a search on the name of the advertiser as they are to click on the ad itself), social media chatter and Web site traffic from other sources.

Additionally, site-engagement metrics like number of page views, time on site and cart size for e-commerce sites need to be part of the measurement mix.

Measuring all of these channels before and after display campaigns will shed light on the value of the ads in a way that measuring clicks never captured.

When this measurement is done, as shown in a recent study by comScore, the results are staggering and clearly demonstrate how significantly display ad spending can affect marketing results.

Likewise knowing your audience (see step No. 2) will go a long way toward understanding the value of your ads. Being able to fine-tune the targets of each through the use of solid data will make it easier to measure efficacy by narrowing the sample.

Other brilliant minds in the business will argue about the continued importance of creative and brand for online display ads, and I don't disagree. But transparency, high-quality, data-driven targeting and better measurement are a clear prescription to heal the illness affecting online display advertising.

Russell Glass is CEO of Bizo.