The Power of View-Through in Marketing Attribution

The Power of View-Through in Marketing Attribution

Most direct response marketers, whether in-house or agency-side, are still challenged by performance (or lack thereof) of digital channels that do not conform to click-through attribution. The classic “You cannot judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree” springs to mind.

Historically, all marketers used click-through attribution because the one proof point they could confidently identify was the channel that drove the converting visit and until recently, marketers were not equipped with the technical horsepower to do visitor-centric analysis. Both industry-wide challenges can now be solved by full-scale deployment of multi-touch measurement and path to conversion reporting respectively. That consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by what they see (or hear) while browsing, is a claim that can now be substantiated by incorporating view-through touchpoints within the attribution model. So, what is holding marketers back from incorporating view-through? In part one of this two-part series, we examine differing viewability standards as an obstacle to scaled adoption.

Our view on viewability

Viewability is an online advertising metric that aims to track impressions of ads that are actually seen by users. For example, if an ad loads at the bottom of a page but a user doesn’t scroll down far enough to see it, that impression would not be deemed viewable. IAB and MRC introduced viewability in 2004, and it was not until ten years later they defined a widely accepted guideline for viewability standards, i.e. that a viewable display ad should be 50% in view for one second (or two-seconds for video).

Although this definition is familiar to most in the industry, it’s no secret that it has been met with contention. A senior brand marketer once famously remarked: “Less than 100% viewability is the equivalent of going to the supermarket and paying for a full trolley even though half the goods have been removed.” This stance is echoed by many and may have indirectly brought about skepticism for view-through attribution. Take the shopping basket analogy and consider it in the context of different ad units, browsers, ad placements, and measurement methodologies yielding wildly different viewability numbers and it’s not hard to see how this skepticism has been amplified.

But should the quest for 100% viewability apply to everyone?

Probably not. Due to the differing needs and requirements of each campaign, one size or viewability standard would never fit all. For instance, restricting campaigns to a predefined, pre-bid, 100% viewability tends to result in reduced inventory, higher costs and potential loss of audiences. On the other hand, lowering your viewability threshold does not mean that you’re lowering brand safety standards, assuming blacklists and other safeguards are in place. Marketers need to feel empowered to choose the thresholds they believe will most effectively deliver against their business objectives for any campaign.

Armed with this confidence, in the longer term, performance marketers can work together as an industry to build a case for view-through attribution. The goal is the development of effective and fair cross-media measurement solutions.

To discuss multi-channel marketing strategies for your business and the power of view-through attribution, get in touch today.