Please use this guide as a basis for display advertising. Make use of the Ctrl+f feature on your keyboard to find words or information that may be useful. This guide aims to be a comprehensive page that anyone can use to understand Digital display advertising.
What is a digital display advertisement?
A digital display advert is a box of variable size that is placed on our digital platforms. This box allows advertisers opportunity to put their brand and message in front of our audience.
What are the benefits of digital display advertising?
The main benefit is to raise awareness of the brand and the message the brand is delivering in the advert. Other benefits include measure-ability, accountability, transparency and insights that other non-digital advertising offerings cannot achieve.
How do we measure effectiveness of digital display advertising?
We measure effectiveness of digital display advertising with various metrics. We can calculate how many unique users have seen the advert, how many times the ad was hovered over, the view ability of the advert, the average time people spent engaging with the advert.
How can we target the correct audience with our digital display ads?
We can target by various methods including, by website, by page, by placement, by day of the week, by hour, by web browser, by ip address, by device. We also have the ability to target particular categories in news stories.
A successful digital display advertising campaign checklist.
Understand the advertisers objective.
What does the advertiser want to achieve?
What is their objective?
A typical objective could be;
“Increase awareness of a blue cross sale event at our furniture store.”
“Raise and maintain our profile to ABC1 men in the local area of Ipswich, UK.”
1. Develop a strategy using digital display ads, to meet advertiser objectives
What is the objective of the advertiser?
What message about their brand do they want to deliver to our audience?
How are you going to target the correct audience? Is there a particular website? Time of day/day of week or other targeting method that would be suitable to match the advertisers objective?
Is there room to be creative in how you deliver the message?
Is there a hook to grab attention to the user without irritating them?
2. Does the ad copy deliver the objective efficiently?
How many seconds of watching the ad does it take for the message to be delivered to a user?
Is the key message visible 100% of the time on the ad.
Is the brand visible 100% of the time on the ad?
If 1,000 people saw the advert for 3 seconds, how many of them would be able to take away the message the advertiser is trying to deliver for their brand in that short amount of time?
How fast is the user journey from ad to website? Are there too many hoops for the user to jump through before a click-through is possible?
Is 90 – 100% of the surface area of the ad clickable?
Are you delivering too much information in too small a space? Are you expecting the user to read all that info?
3. Is the click URL relevant and fully trackable?
What landing page URL are they using? Is the page relevant to the message on the ad?
Does the URL expand on the information given in the advertisement?
Does the advertiser have Google Analytics on their website? Have you included a Google Analytics friendly URL?
Have you used an appropriate medium/source/campaign as part of the friendly url?
4. How did we match the objectives? – Reporting and Insight
Now that we have collected data on the campaign we need to show how we matched the objectives that the advertiser had at the beginning.
Using ad data
What data do we need to look at to show how the campaign matched the objectives of the advertiser?
What do the reports show us? What are we looking for?
Was there any interesting points to note in how our audience reacted to the advert?
Is there anything that could be done better with the ad copy? Are there less or more interactions on specific areas of the ad that wasn’t expected?
Has the display ad campaign been saturated into the audience? Has it been seen by the majority of our regular readers? Or is there still a remaining targetable audience that have not seen the ad?
Using advertiser website data
If we used a Google Analytics friendly URL then we are able with the permission of the advertiser to see how the clicks/traffic we sent to their site behaved on the page chosen as the URL. Or guide the client to this part of analytics.
We are then looking for the following information:
How long has the user spent on the landing page after clicking through to the site?
How many pages did they visit? Which pages did they visit?
What information did they consume?
What percentage of people have dropped off the page after only a few seconds?
Did some people not find what they thought they would after clicking through? Assess it here and see what page(s) they visited afterwards.
Understanding Ad Serving Metrics
There are lots of metrics we can obtain from digital display ads on our sites. We can even create our own custom metrics.
Typical metrics which come from our adserver reports will show the following information.
Ad impressions delivered
This is the amount of times a single ad impressions was delivered. There can be more than one ad impression per page impression, do not mix the two up as it can cause confusion! Ad impressions are booked in the thousands and charged at a rate per thousand.
Unique users (lifetime)
This shows us the amount of unique users who have seen the advert in the lifetime of the campaign. This is based on a unique IP address.
The amount of occurrences of an engagement on an advert. You can have only one engagement per ad impression. One engagement can last for x amount of time. An engagement is triggered when a user hovers over the ad for at least 2 seconds.
Average engagement time
From all the engagements; the average amount of time users spent engaging with the advert.
Engagement rate %
The rate at which an engagement occurs on the advert. Based on the impressions served.
A click that occurs on an advert that does not result in the user going away from the site.
A click that occurs on an advert that results in a user going to another website.
The rate at which a Click-Through occurs on the advert. Based on the impressions served
How did the campaign perform? How did we reach the objective set by the customer?
When measuring effectiveness of a campaign overall the natural metric to look at is the clicks the advert has generated. However one digital display campaign delivers more than x clicks.
Digital display advertising is an opportunity for advertisers to show their brand and deliver a message to a targeted audience.
The main value for the advertiser in digital display advertising is in the ad impression. (The viewable image shown on the screen)
The ad impression is where users see the brand and the message. This message is delivered to users in large volumes and requires nothing but a glance to deliver it to the user.
A user seeing an advert that says ‘Furniture store sale, this Weekend’ doesnt need to click on the ad for them to take away that message, they can read it within a couple of seconds. This message is consumed, and awareness of the sale has increased to this user.
Not many clicks occur on adverts. A typical click rate is 0.1% so any clicks on the ad are valuable as the user is very interested in what is shown in the ad. So we can look at clicks, but only at a large scale, where trends in data are more accurate. The more data we collect, the better.
When we deliver 100,000 ad impression we would expect to attain 100 clicks at a click rate of 0.1%.
To understand fully what else we are delivering other than 100 clicks, we have to get involved in a numbers game, which will show just how much of an impact a campaign can have.
Understanding the full benefits of Digital Display Advertising
One typical ad campaign may deliver 100,000 ad impressions to 50,000 unique users. This campaign would show that the user has seen the ad an average of 2 times.
How long does each user spend looking at the ad? This is a metric we cannot measure, however we can make a good estimate.
Lets say a user spends 60 seconds on a webpage with a digital display ad in view 100% of the time.
How many seconds of those 60 would a user spend looking at the ad?
Most of the data from eye-tracking experiments show that users spend maybe 2 to 4 seconds looking at a display ad on a website if it is in view. This can vary vastly, depending on the ad unit size and where it is placed on the page.
Now lets say as an example over the course of an ad campaign, the digital display ad is seen for 2 or 4 seconds on average for each and every ad impression.
Going back to the example of the 100,000 ad impression campaign.. That would be 200,000 – 400,000 seconds of time spent looking at the ad and the message the brand is delivering. This is equivalent to 55.5 – 83.3 hours worth of time the audience has collectively looked at the ad. An audience who are targetted for the advertiser.
Although we cannot measure the time our users eyeballs were looking at the ad, we can measure how long their mouse hovered over the ad.
For a hover event of 2 seconds or more, we call this an engagement.
We get a lot of engagements, much more than clicks. It is quite common for users to move the mouse around the screen and have it follow their eyes. Proof of this is in engagement rates, which are typically between 4 and 12%.
Lets take our campaign example again, with 100,000 ad impressions. At a fairly ordinary engagement rate of 8% we would have 8,000 engagements. That is 8,000 hovers of a minimum of 2 seconds or more.
A metric that helps give some better insight into the users and their reaction to the advert is with the ‘average engagement time’. This is telling us how long the average engagement was on the advert. Or how long people spent hovering on the advert.
We would get typical average engagement times of 8 to 16 seconds. So all of the above data for our example campaign shows us that our 8,000 engagements delivered an average engagement time of say 12 seconds for our example.
8,000 engagements x 12 secs
This would mean that the campaign delivered 96,000 seconds of engagement.
This is equivalent to 26.6 hours of engagement time on the advert in total.
Our example ad campaign of 100,000 ad impressions delivered the following to a local audience.
The campaign delivered 100,000 ad impressions to 50,000 unique users.
The 50,000 unique users would have seen the advert an average of 2 times each.
An estimated 55.5 – 83.3 hours of eyeballs on the brand and message during the campaign duration
8,000 engagements on the ad, averaging 12 seconds per engagement.
A estimated total of 26.6 hours worth of engagement time (hovering) on the ad.
The campaign also delivered 100 clicks, which is a click rate of 0.1%.
If we had a Google Analytics friendly URL set up, we could see what these users did once they landed on the website.
In our example, we might see something like:
Each user visited an average of 2 pages after visiting from our advertisment.
The users average session on the site was 59 seconds.
40 individual searches occurred on this page from these users.
Understanding the difference between CPM & CPC
Often digital display ads are sold on a CPM basis, which stands for Cost Per Mille, or Cost per thousand to those who no longer user roman numerals.
We sell in the manner because most of the value is in the ad impression, people seeing the advert and the branding and branding messages that occur from each ad impression.
Clicks will deliver value, but it is not the main benefit to measure a digital display campaign. If it was then we would sell on a CPC basis(cost per click). CPC is used with Google search advertising and there is little display opportunity advertising on search engines and organic results within search and advertising results are very relevant as the user has already shown intent in the search phrase they have provided.
However clicks are still a good way to gauge measurement and insight in digital display and should not be overlooked. They are a good means of finding trends in data, especially when looking at lots of click data.
More impressions means more clicks. The more click data you collect the more accurate the trends become. For example, there may have been more clicks on a weekend, or more from 9pm to 11pm. But we would only be able to show this insight if there were in the region of 50 clicks or more, which would be around a 50,000 ad impression campaign for most average digital display campaigns.