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The importance of measuring creative performance

Content and personalisation are two of the biggest factors influencing campaign performance, with recent research from Google Media Lab1 showing that creative quality, relevancy and personalisation are responsible for 70% of campaign success, with other factors including format, publisher and media targeting making up rest.

Cablato’s content personalisation and ad serving technology has made it easier for advertisers to create and run high-impact, personalised campaigns and reap performance increases from digital advertising investments by up to 10 times2, measured through engagement and post view/click actions.

However, for creative and personalisation to be effective, the advertisement has to be seen by its target audience. This this takes us on to one of the biggest issues facing digital advertising today: viewability.

According to recent research by Meetrics and eMarketer, average viewability rates across display, video and mobile are around 50%3, meaning that on average, half of all media bought by advertisers is never seen.

The good news is that viewability measurement can now be incorporated into the platform. This means you can now get an independent report on viewability, analyse how both viewable and non-viewable ads affected campaign performance, and what content had the biggest impact. We also encourage our advertisers to drop our measurement pixel on their sites, enabling us to independently report on viewability, analyse how both viewable and non-viewable ads affected campaign performance, and what content had the biggest impact.

The trends are very clear. Viewable ads4 improve performance by an average of six times5, whilst the inclusion of personalised and high-impact interactive content boosts performance again, by up to an additional four times6. It is only by including viewability and tracking performance at a content level that we can start to understand why and how people engaged with a brand’s digital ads, instead of simply focusing on how many people have seen it.

Despite brands investing in both personalisation and high-impact creative, in most cases creative performance isn’t being split out or measured as a separate KPI. And whilst brands using high-impact creative and personalisation would expect to see a lift in Click Through Rate (CTR) and a reduction in Cost Per Action (CPA), without precise creative metrics in play, it’s difficult for marketers to decipher exactly where any new performance originated from.

This becomes even more complex when agencies use combined performance metrics to demonstrate effectiveness and uplift. Whilst many combined performance metric strategies make sense from a media perspective, they rarely factor in what impact the creative had, or whether a brand’s investment into personalisation has paid off. Until brands adopt Multi Touch Attribution (MTA) and Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) models for measuring success, media performance reports are unlikely to be provide the level of insight brands require to make informed decisions about the creative and ad serving strategies.

Using multi-touch attribution models enables advertisers to measure and attribute value to each customer touch point leading to a conversion, and where possible, what content was shown at each point. This provides valuable insight into which marketing channel(s), campaign(s) and content should be credited to a conversion, with the ultimate intention of allocating future spend and serving the best performing content.

Having a holistic view of what elements of an overall campaign worked, and to what degree, is not only valuable, but critical in informing future campaigns. Encouragingly, a recent poll by the IAB and the Winterberry Group7 found almost 60% of marketing and media practitioners expect to engage cross-channel measurement and attribution this year. Brands that do this will lead the way in campaign planning, able to gain clear insights into which campaigns, and which content within those campaigns, drove performance and delivered ROI.

Moving forward, effective performance measurement needs to be considered as part of the bigger picture – ultimately if the creative is poor, or targeted ineffectively, then no amount of people seeing the ad will help the marketers achieve their objectives.


1. From Manual Buying to Programmatic: First-Hand Learnings from the Google Media Lab 2. Cablato campaign results for global advertiser serving over 400,000 impressions a month 3. Meetrics Viewability Benchmarks, July 2017, defined as the percentage of impressions where at least 50% of an ad was actively in view for at least 1 continuous second 4. IAB defines a viewable ad as an ad that has been actively in view for at least 1 continuous second. 5. Cablato, average viewability scores and performance analysis 6. Cablato. A/B testing personalised vs. non-personalised creatives. 7. eMarketer, Marketers Renew Interest in Cross-Channel Attribution, April 2017

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