Anyone who’s ever taken a look at what Google Analytics has to say about their website knows there’s a lot of data out there. You can find out whether people are clicking through online ads to find your site, how long they’re staying once they get there and whether they’re clicking through to buy anything you’re selling. In fact, you can end up wasting hours and hours delving into details about unique visitors and bounce rates.
But all this information doesn’t necessarily add up to a real understanding of how your online branding is actually working. Do people like or trust your company more than they would have if you’d never spent a cent on your online presence?
Now, Google is promising it can answer questions like that. Its new Brand Activate Initiative is designed to offer insights on how effective online ads are that are comparable to traditional measurements used for television advertising. It is setting its sights squarely on big brands that have been slow to move their advertising dollars from TV to the Internet.
So far, the company has introduced two new products as part of the initiative. Active View promises to count not just “impressions” of an ad, but “viewed impressions,” meaning that the ad is at least 50 percent viewable on the screen for at least one second. Active GRP, a measurement analogous to the “gross rating point” measurement used in TV campaigns, provides real-time data that makes use of anonymous user data.
Neal Mohan, vice president of display advertising for Google, explains the new products in a blog post:
Is a particular ad in your campaign especially useful at improving brand recall in Illinois? You should be able to immediately increase your coverage throughout the Midwest. Is one ad slightly less effective at driving purchase intent and in-store sales? Tweak the creative, straight away.
So far, it’s unclear how much traction the new products will have. Advertising experts interviewed by marketing news site Clickz said they’re reserving judgment until they know more about the technical details behind the new tools. Meanwhile, many companies may want to seek IT consulting help to figure out the best way to make use of the information they can glean from the new metrics.