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There has been quite a bit of talk in the online automotive advertising community about attribution modeling which raises the question of how much credit the last ad should actually get when a user visits a car dealer's website, microsite or performs a key purchase indicator (KPI) or executes a key buying activity (KBA)? Many car companies and large national enterprise dealer groups are looking at advertising attribution modeling to determine the true effectiveness of an ad beyond just what the click-through rate (CTR) and direct response metrics portray.
WHAT SAVVY AUTOMOTIVE MARKETERS KNOW
The primary contention is that while a user may click on an ad to navigate to a site, previous ad views contributed to this action but are left unrecognized and uncounted. While total click throughs, their cost per click (CPC) and CTR are all easily measurable metrics, advanced marketers and marketing savvy car dealers understand that they are not the most accurate ways to measure an advertising campaign’s effectiveness for a dealership.
TARGET AND WALMART CASE STUDIES
In an effort to measure the effect of display advertising on site visitation, we looked at marketing activity related to two of the largest retailers, Target and Walmart. We identified consumers exposed to either of these retailer’s online display campaigns using ad tags on Doubleclick. We then looked at site visitation with respect to display ad exposure.
In both cases shown in the charts above, approximately 85% of visitors to the advertiser's websites were exposed to the retailer’s online display ad at least once, either before or after visiting the retailer site. We based these counts off of the user’s first visit to the retailer site in the month.
>50% OF TRAFFIC SAW ADS BEFORE VISITING SITES
Of those who were exposed, more than half were exposed before visiting the retailer site which means that about half of the visitors to either of the retailer sites saw an online display ad for the retailer before visiting the site. However, it is very likely that not all consumers who were exposed to a display ad were counted by the clickthrough rate metric for campaign success because not all consumers who see an ad respond immediately by clicking on the ad... The data collected illustrates the impact of display advertising on which websites a consumer visits, after seeing a display ad that is not measured as an actual click on the display ad itself.
AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL ADVERTISING SUPPLIERS
The online display advertising tracking technique described in this article, and the ad campaign performance metrics this tracking system provides is being used by the ADP Dealer Services Digital Marketing Group's Automotive Digital Advertising business unit for their dealership and OEM clients. Having implemented this system with assistance from tier 1 suppliers such as Google, Specific Media and DoubleClick for over a year at the time of this article, the ADP/BZ team has their Post Impression Ad Tracking tactic down to a highly defined and effective implementation process. ADP/BZ Digital Advertising calls their tracking system (as described in this article), and the reports it provides to car dealers and OEM's as "Post Impression Tracking" for Website Display Advertising. Dealers who want to learn more about the ADP and BZ Results Digital Advertising solutions and how they use DoubleClick's tags for Post Impression Tracking of car buyer activities should visit the Digital Advertising section of the ADP Dealer Services site at: www.ADPdigitaladvertising.com for information and to request a presentation on how it works within a dealership's total digital marketing strategy...
NEW QUESTIONS FOR AUTOMOTIVE MARKETERS
Automotive Digital Marketing practitioners must address the questions around how and what campaign metrics can be used to close the gap between measuring direct click-through rates (CTR is often around 0.1% ) and the broader impact of automotive digital display advertising (this case suggests they could be as much as 50% of site traffic) driven by their targeted car buying consumer's latent "post impression" activity?
These and other questions are being addressed as many online metric measurement companies scramble to develop the “perfect solution.” However, prudence and common sense, as well as the nature of automotive marketing and advertising suggest that such a general solution may not exist... As most experienced marketers know, each campaign is unique and the ideal campaign effectiveness measurement system may vary by campaign. Nevertheless, marketers need to start exploring alternative methods to direct campaign measurement in order to properly determine the true impact of their online advertising spend. Stay tune for a similar look at display attribution for search!