Display Advertising Not Getting The Credit It Deserves

Display Advertising Not Getting The Credit It Deserves

Facebook display advertising isn’t being given enough credit in consumer transactions, says full-service analytics agency Datalicious. All the love goes to search.

There’s an imbalance in how brands allocate their media spend because of inaccurate measurement, says CEO Christian Bartens. Too many companies adhere to the ‘last click attribution’ model, a model where the last media channel a consumer visits to purchase something is the one that gets all the credit for the campaign.

Generally that’s not display advertising. It’s all search.

“People simply just see display ads. They don’t click on them but they leave an impression similar to other offline ads such as TV ads or outdoor posters,” says Bartens. “In the last click model all the other touch points that came before that, that helped you make a decision, that made you aware of the product in the first place… see no credit whatsoever. They’re completely neglected.”

The latest research from Datalicious ‘Media Attribution: Optimising digital marketing spend in Financial Services’ analysed the results of seven major brands such as BUPA, AAMI and St George, across five months to measure their return on advertising spend (ROAS). It analysed 702 million media touch points across 104 million purchase paths and 75 thousand conversions.

The study found that in order for brands to fully understand where their ROAS was coming from they need to look at all the touch points of a campaign, a ‘multi-click attribution’ model.

By comparing both the last click and the multi-click attribution model the study found display advertising was being severely undervalued.

Facebook and display advertising actually deliver 830% more revenue for the brands than previously thought when looked at via a multi-click attribution model.

Swing in revenue by channel - Datalicious

The study also found that Facebook and display advertising indirectly convert and help build awareness of a product or campaign that is then captured by other touch points later on. While admitting it’s impossible to statistically prove whether display ads lead to consumers searching for the product, Bartens says the research found strong evidence that display ads have influence on the consumer.

“There is an imbalance in the way people spend their budget,” says Bartens.

“They say ‘display doesn’t generate any clicks. I’ll take all of my money out of display and put it all into search’. So marketers end up really neglecting certain channels.”

It may sound like common sense, however Bartens says it’s because there’s a lack of knowledge in the industry.

“The last click model was created in a time where online advertising was largely limited to paid search and there was no display advertising, there was no social, that was all you could do. The last click model was created to track that. It persisted for an entire decade without significantly being challenged.

“It’s a historic leftover. People simply don’t know any better.

“Paid search can no longer claim credit for most of the generated revenue and has to start sharing with other channels such as display that previously were not able to claim revenue due to an inaccurate measurement approach.”

Given there is hardly ever a single solution to a problem simply increasing Facebook or display advertising spend is not going to be enough. Like any other channel a successful campaign strategy doesn’t depend purely on overall budget but also requires a good offer, effective creative and ongoing test and optimisation program.

Download a full copy of the report here.

A second whitepaper including offline data in the attribution modelling will be released in April 2015.

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