Digital is a double edged sword, as it’s measurable. For those who work in digital media, you understand what I’m saying. How often have you sat there in frustration shaking your head and wondered why digital gets so much scrutiny when most other channels don’t get nearly the same precise questions from clients? I know I have.
One of the areas that I spend a bit of time focusing on both from a media agency and investment perspective is around the valuation and understanding of the “view thru.” For those not familiar with VT, it’s essentially a media impression that gets served (and tracked) but isn’t interacted with. If the user visits the website (and takes action) of the advertisement within a set period of time (attribution window), the user is counted as a view-thru conversion. This is opposite of click-thru (CT) where a user would actually click on the ad unit and go to the website.
The view thru in itself is interesting. It’s similar to television. You are exposed to an advertisement and over some period of time, you might make a purchasing decision in which that ad impact had some (or no) contribution.
Some marketers take 100% of VT and give it credit to a sale and others take 0%. I’ve seen both attribution numbers and everything in the middle. There is no “right” number, at least, right now.
While this post isn’t to argue VT vs. CT as ways to measure media, I would like to highlight how VT needs to be logged into site analytics solutions so that one can measure total effectiveness. While Google Analytics and other tools are able to measure click based references on ad units, I’d also like to see them measure view-thru based conversions. I can’t imagine this is easy as the site-analytics tool needs to be mapped to the ad server of record, but this is important as generally there are 8x as many view-thru conversions for every 1x click thru.
The view thru raises questions:
- In a world of banners and buttons, how do you create a compelling experience which doesn’t focus on the click, but rather delivers content optimized for the view-thru?
- Do you assign equal or differentiated credit to view-thru and click-thrus?
- How long should an attribution window be?
From an investment thesis, I’d love to look at attribution and measurement companies. I think the view-thru is one of the most underrated measurement tools we have and with an increase in online video, VT will be a power metric to watch.