Whenever I work with Sales on an RFP some of the most common questions I get asked surrounds CTR, mainly:
While most Publishers are able to provide their teams with internal site performance metrics, Google's DoubleClick Benchmark Report - an aggregate of DFA data that includes hundreds of advertisers, thousands of campaigns and tens of billions of ad impressions - provides a good benchmark for click-thru rates on display ads that can be used to make those initial "Which ad size and type should the Advertiser go with?" decisions.
Below is one example of the metrics presented in Google’s DoubleClick Benchmark Report.
The steady rise in the volume of delivered digital ads have made it increasingly difficult for agencies to verify the accurate execution of online campaigns across a growing number of purchased Publisher sites. In response, numerous companies have entered the Industry with a range of solutions to address these implementation concerns. Enter Ad Verification.
What is Ad Verification?
Ad verification is a technology service offered by Vendors to ensure that ads appear on intended sites, reach the targeted audience, and have been executed in a manner consistent with the terms of the campaign. Vendors providing this service include AdXpose, Adometry, Adsafe and Double Verify.
What does Ad Verification track?
Targeting parameters tracked thru Ad Verification include:
How does Ad Verification work?
Ad verification services are generally integrated into ad campaigns using some form of tracking asset (ad tags, beacons, etc.). Whenever this "tracked" ad is served on a Publisher site a decision can be made by the ad verification service to "block" the ad - prevent the ad from appearing on a page - if the page does not meet the site, geographical, or content parameters that were laid out for the campaign. The Ad Verification vendor supplies a routine report to the agency and Publisher highlighting the number of ad calls that were blocked, by parameter, providing Publishers with an opportunity to troubleshoot and/or adjust campaign set up.
What is required to implement Ad Verification?
Not much. Once an ad campaign is contracted, the Ad Verification vendor typically requires that included Publisher sites provide a list of all site URLS where the tracked campaign is expected to run. Depending on the implementation method, the Publisher may also need to implement a tracking pixel for the campaign.
In the world of Digital Campaigns whenever creative is being served through Ad Tags it means the ad delivery is being tracked using two sets of numbers: The Publisher's numbers (as reported by their Ad Server) and the Third Party Vendor's numbers (as reported thru the Ad Server of the Vendor used to traffic the ads). The difference between these two sets of numbers is referred to as a Discrepancy.
What causes discrepancies?
Discrepancies are a by-product of counting methodology. In other words it's the difference between when a Publisher considers an Impression "counted" and when the Third Party considers the same impression "counted". Additionally, different vendors may count their impressions at different times in the ad delivery process so discrepancies can vary by vendor. Here's another way of looking at this:
If either ad response fails prior to the 3rd Party’s count (Vendor X does not respond with content, Vendor Y’s content does not load), then the impression is not captured on the vendor's end. The result is a discrepancy between the Publisher and Third Party impression counts.
What is considered a normal discrepancy?
Agencies and Publishers typically consider a discrepancy of up to 10% normal, and most vendors will not troubleshoot anything less than this amount. My experience has been that most discrepancies range 2% - 5% depending on the vendor.
How do Publishers compensate for discrepancies?
When trafficking a campaign that is billed using 3rd Party numbers, a Publisher will "overbook" the goals on the campaign by a default or anticipated discrepancy percentage to ensure that the Advertiser's contracted goal is met.
For more on discrepancies you can read about the Impression Exchange Solution: An industry-wide standard mechanism designed to create immediate awareness and transparency around discrepancies.
This site is a one-stop-shop introduction for anyone interested in learning about the Digital Ad Space from a professional with years of experience working and training others in the world of Digital Advertising.
Ad Verification Simplified
Average Click-thru Rates
Identifying Creative Types
Understanding Ad Tags