Perhaps the issue with Display Ads is that it is too lonely at the top of the funnel

The new iOS11 arrangement will bring about yet more change in the digital advertising space. We can be certain that display ads will face more scrutiny by all parties involved in buying, selling or delivering them.

iOS11 changes will make re-marketing more difficult (a good thing for Consumers); that puts more distance between Display and a Sales/Revenue marketing outcome.  Some channels will always be more directly connected to a such an outcome and that is lovingly referred to as 'last click attribution' to borrow a term from the digital world.  Other channels, earlier on in the product consideration phase, are obviously much farther out from realizing product revenue.

Better connections to a Sales outcome can make both KPI setting and the evaluation of the operational process simpler. Analytics helps establish both effectiveness and efficiency as the end point is clear (either there is a sale or not). Further up on the funnel things are vague as the marketing objectives are not always about 'selling stuff'.

Display Channels could be getting a lot more bad press because they are indirectly (at best) connected to a sale outcome.

A variety of KPIs have emerged looking at cost-efficiency (CPM) or cost-effectiveness (viewability) but it is generally accepted that vagueness increases with distance from the Sale/Buy step.

I became familiar with that type of vagueness from a KPI review I performed many years ago at an international airport where one of its goals was to protect the country from all kinds of dangers associated with incoming passengers.  The measurement tracked was how quickly passengers got to the taxi rank. Great for Consumer Experience and even Operational Efficiency but not directly associated with the stated goal.  In KPI parlour "the measurement did not meet the Relevance threshold".

The digital world has introduced many good and creative ideas that make the performance of display channels better.  However, more rigour is required when connecting display channels to a Buy/Sell step.  Analytically this is a multi-touch attribution issue.  It may be an important issue if the prevalent marketing credo is that every marketing function has to be connected to a financial outcome. 

That, in my view, is a headline requirement: link as much as enterprise activity as possible to an agreed outcome. Of course, there can be micro-goals in every process as they inform the efficiency of the process. But the proliferation of micro-goals that have emerged (sometimes simply because a lot of activity can be measured particularly in the digital world) may now be more of a distraction for decision making.


- By Yorgos Moschovis, Head of Data Science and Engineering at Datalicious

Yorgos Moschovis

Yorgos Moschovis is the head of data science and engineering at Datalicious.