April 1, 2017

What is Display Attribution, and Is It Good for Marketing? (Part 2)

VTA is typically set to a period of 24-hours from the time of seeing an advert to taking action.

By Yuanxi Ou, Content Marketing Manager

 In our previous post (which you can read here) we explored the concept of attribution analysis with display attribution and view-through attribution (VTA), also sometimes called view-based attribution (VBA). In this post, Jake Lee, head of operations for Mobvista Ad Center and general manager at our North American office, shares his insights.

As discussed in the previous post, VTA has a shorter attribution window when compared to click-based attribution. VTA is typically set to a period of 24-hours from the time of seeing an advert to taking action. The attribution timescale is shorter because it is accepted that if someone has watched an advert, they are unlikely to remember it and actively search after 24-hours has elapsed. Additionally, by setting the window to 24-hours, it gives more transparency to whether VTA has had an impact, as the influence of the advertising will naturally be stronger the more recently it is viewed.

Three key areas important to consider with VTA are:

1.       Value of display and brand building

2.      Value of native video advertising

3.      Value of premium traffic and users

Let’s look at each of these in more detail:

1. Value of display and brand building

For brands, the key value of display advertising is brand building. Often, a consumer may not take action from just seeing an advert. Rather, advertising will make an impression over time, hopefully building affinity and recall so that when they do come to make a purchase, they’ll choose the brand they saw advertised. This is the indirect benefit of display advertising.

Because there is no expectation of an immediate click or action, VTA can be a useful way to measure and attribute brand advertising. Using VTA within a 24-hour window gives brands an understanding of who their ads have reached. So even if the conversion rate is low, advertisers can understand the level of brand exposure.

Digital advertising can be useful for brands that want to target a particular group of people. However, targeting too narrowly can also be detrimental. After using highly targeted Facebook advertising for some time, in 2016 Procter & Gamble announced that it would be reducing its spend on targeted ads and shifting budget back into brand-led advertisements. Having the world’s biggest advertiser reduce rather than increase spend on targeted ads was understandably big news.

The chief issue P&G identified was that spending more on highly targeted ads did not necessarily result in better sales compared with broader and less trackable ad buys. So it decided to shift its spend to better balance highly targeted direct response advertising alongside more traditional mediums such as TV, radio and video, which give more reach but which are harder to attribute. VTA is an ideal way to measure the effectiveness of such an approach.

The theory behind VTA is that brand-led ads can leave a deeper impression on potential consumers even if views cannot be immediately converted into clicks. With enough exposure and brand impressions, consumers might skip visiting an advertisers’ website, app or social feed, and instead use search or visit a store to make a purchase.

VTA isn’t a new concept. After all, most ad budgets are still allocated to offline marketing. Even in today’s world of digital advertising where every click or view needs to be measured, no one questions the continued value of traditional TV and outdoor media – or even a multi-million dollar slot at Superbowl half time. Brands know that these ads work, even if they can’t be 100% attributed.

2. Value of native video advertising

Imagine if you could combine the power of a beautiful magazine advert that might appear in a publication like Vogue, with a high-quality video ad, but have it delivered digitally. These brand led ads are not necessarily designed to get people to take a direct action. Instead, they are intended to make an impression and stay in your mind. This is what many are striving for with digital advertising today and why VTA has been moving to digital.

Recently, AppLovin and AppsFlyer released data revealing that video ads represented 77% of total spending on mobile marketing in Q4 2016. When it came to gaming, the report reveals that video represented 93% of spend, which is far higher than other ad forms.

Most interestingly, the report revealed that the retention rate of users acquired through video ads is 24% higher than other ad forms.

Similarly, YouAppi released data in December 2016 showing that native ads generate clicks at a 30% to 40% higher frequency and convert at double the rate compared to other kinds of mobile ads. Both cases show the benefit of using native and video, in a way that makes sense for the target audience and type of experience.

3. Value of premium traffic and users

Native and video ads tend to generate better quality traffic than other advertising formats.

If we take the example of user A being bombarded by a bunch of banner ads, and then accidentally downloading an app, what will the retention be? Not very good. In fact, that user may decide never to download anything from the company that bombarded them again.

Compare that with User B who voluntarily download the app after watching a video or seeing a native ad with rich information. Though it may be harder to track the second user, the experience they will have had is much better, and they will feel like it was their decision to take action, rather than being forced into it.

This leads to the fundamental problem that advertisers care about: am I paying for downloads or users?