Quantifying Display Ads Success

Display advertising, or advertising with text ads on Google’s content network, brings with it a different mind set than paid search. Display doesn’t work very well for direct response but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful for something. What are some more ways to quantify the success of display ads besides conversions (which typically have high cost per conversion) and number of  impressions (which may or may not have even been seen if it was below the fold or ignored altogether)?

I really like looking at the Visitor Loyalty metric under Visitors in Google Analytics. Make a custom segment for just that display campaign and see how many return visits those ads created.

Google Analytics Display Segment

If this is the first time the visitor has visited the site the chances are slim that they are going to buy. But making something compelling enough to get them to come back should be looked at as a mini-win that leads that visitor down the conversion funnell. Look at the Visits With Conversions custom segment to get an idea of what the typical amount of visits to conversion is on your site. Let’s say its 4 visits, if your display campaign begins the visitor down that 4 visit funnel, that’s worth something.
This just goes to show the importance of giving the visitor some kind of hook on the landing page to invite them to interact with you again: you can teach them something, watch a video, engage in a conversation, subscribe to email, RSS or at least a cookie on their browser to send them a re-marketing message later.

Google Analytics Visitor Loyalty

When you look at display advertising this way, rather than only at direct response and conversions, you begin to ask the question of how much time and effort your business spends on pre-purchase transactions and how much you spend on trying to simply close the sale?

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