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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

DIGITAL SALES STRATEGY: Understanding the Digital Scoreboard

scoreboardThis is a great time of year to be a sports fan. Baseball playoffs are close and every weekend brings a plethora of college and professional football games. Every game has its own set of stats to follow, but just looking at the stats the following day doesn’t necessarily tell you who won the game. In baseball, the team with more hits is not always the winner. In football, the winning team could have fewer total yards. The box score stats can help you guess the winner, but they don’t tell the full story of the game.

Display advertising is very similar if you think about it… you have impressions and clicks.  Most of us understand at this point in the display advertising game that the click through rate, affectionately known as the CTR, is not the best way to measure the success of a campaign, but somehow we often end up in a “CTR = success” conversation with our advertisers.  How do we get out of that conversation?

First, we need to do an effective needs analysis.  Understand the key marketing challenge and agree on it with your client. Identify who their heavy user is, the benefits they are looking for, and how your client measures up to their competition in those areas. Understand what your client is trying to accomplish and what a win will look like to them. In other words, are they looking for branding, a direct response or increased traffic to their site or into their store for a promotion? Before you can speak to the success of any campaign, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish.

Second, we need to re-educate. The CTR has been used in the past as the measure of digital success or failure, when it is neither. Keep in mind that only 16% of all internet users click on a display ad in any given month but even in the absence of a click, display advertising still has a positive impact on consumer behavior, according to a comScore study conducted in conjunction with Starcom.  Discuss with your client the importance of the view-through by analyzing their site traffic while their campaign is running—a lot of those non-clickers will go directly to their site or conduct a search on Google or Yahoo! to get to their site.

The CTR can be an indicator on how the game is going, but a high CTR does not equal success anymore than a low CTR equals failure.  The CTR can help you determine the effectiveness of your creative or your targeting. You can use it as a guide to help steer the campaign in the right direction, but it should not be used as the only metric to determine a win.

Measure the success of a digital campaign the same way you would with any other media, based on what your client is trying to accomplish, because at the end of the game, the stats don’t name the winner… the scoreboard does!

For more ideas on how you can keep your campaigns on track, download our Retention Checklist.



Alina Diaz is a Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: Needs Analysis Digital integrated media solution