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How To Measure Media Campiagn Success

Contextual and media advertising
Digital Marketing
April 14, 2022
9 min

Every day, month, and year, there is more and more media advertising on the Internet. Contrary to modest forecasts, the market grew 19% even during the pandemic. And in 2021, brands intend to spend one-third of their marketing budgets on media buying.

It’s time to talk about common mistakes when setting up campaigns and to answer the main question — is it possible to digitize the result of media advertising? Spoiler alert: yes, you can!

What is media advertising?

In fact, billboards, TV commercials, flyers, website banners – these are all types of media advertising, and they all perform the same function — attract the audience’s attention to the product and indirectly stimulate sales. If the consumer does not respond to it immediately, there is a high probability that they will remember it later.

Depending on the target audience’s preferences and the existing goals of the business, each marketing campaign has its format. Today we suggest focusing on the world of digital.

For us, media advertising is:

  • Advertising on YouTube;
  • Coverage campaigns in the Google Contextual Media Network (GDN);
  • Purchase of advertising in DV360 (banner advertising of various formats or the same YouTube);
  • Purchase of video placements and branding/banner ads in online movie theaters and from other contractors.

Yes, the specifics of this kind of advertising are many shows and few clicks. However, for most advertisers, the most important result of any flight is the conversion rate to target actions: requests, purchases, calls. And the most frequent request that we receive during the audit of old RC looks something like this:

– We spent 17K USD on advertising and got no conversions. Why is it so?

We have counter-questions:

– And how did you calculate the conversion? What were the KPIs? How did you analyze them? Did you evaluate the influence of media activities on other sources of traffic?

In this article, we will prove that

  • Media advertising should not bring direct conversions.
  • Analyzing media campaigns based on actual results only is wrong.
  • The purpose of media campaigns is to increase brand visibility online, tell customers something new, or influence other traffic sources.

The most widespread mistake when analyzing media campaigns

Let’s say you are a business owner. A peculiarity of your product is that it has a long path for a customer to make a purchasing decision. This could be cars, large appliances, jewelry, or software development services. In such niches, getting conversion after the first touch is almost impossible. So if such a business launches a media ad flight, it won’t gain an endless number of sales from 1,000 clicks on YouTube. And if you do gain 1-2 deals, this will be the exception.

The logic is pretty simple: when users run a YouTube ad, they often feel uncomfortable, awkward, and inappropriate. A person who decided to watch a new video of their favorite blogger in the evening is unlikely to make a purchase right there and then. But whether they will make a targeted action in a few days after watching the video is the big question that should be monitored.

The most widespread mistake in media launches is analyzing media flights by clicks.

Many of our clients who come in with an audit request continue analyzing their media campaigns with Google Analytics and consider click-through conversions from the relevant traffic source or campaign only. At best, this includes associated conversions and sequence paths.

By measuring the effectiveness of media ads by clicks, advertisers are losing a considerable amount of data behind the shows and views.

In media advertising, as a rule, CTR ranges from 0.05 to 0.65%. You can make the “survivor’s mistake” if you analyze only clicks. Millions of shows that have indirectly influenced site traffic and conversion rates will be overlooked in such a situation.

How should you analyze media advertising?

Don’t use only reach, CTR or clicks as KPIs

Before the flight, connect additional analytics tools: Campaign manager 360, Gemius.

In our experience, many clients who want to launch a media campaign for 17-34K USD have not even heard about such tools. Although they can tell you about the behavior of users after contact with advertising:

  • how different is the behavior of those who clicked on the ad and those who viewed it;
  • conversions from other devices, for example, if a user saw an ad on their phone and purchased from a computer.

In our practice, click-through conversions in media flights are only 1-12% of the total conversions. The remaining 88-99% are Post-View and Cross conversions.

This data set perfectly illustrates that click-through analysis for media advertising is inaccurate and incomplete, while a few thousand clicks hide millions of shows and essential statistics.

Case study

Objective: Installing the app

Tools: YouTube and GDN

From the 31,246 first open conversions by click are only 2%.

The chain: who saw the ad → clicked the link → installed the app” had only 628 first open conversions. This is precisely the data most customers often analyze in Google Analytics or Firebase. If you go this way, it’s logical to conclude that the CPA of conversions per click is 25 USD. The tool is ineffective, so we stop. All other conversions (30 617) were made at other times, in other traffic channels, or from other devices. Conversions by shows accounted for 76% of all conversions and conversions from multiple platforms are 22%. In this case, the total CPA, if you take into account all the conversions, is only 0.54 USD.

Another myth is to put reach as the desired result of the media advertising’s effectiveness:

– Reaching 1 million people is good; reaching 200,000 more people than originally planned is even better.

In the case of media campaigns, it’s not so vital to get an immense reach or run ads optimized for a good CTR. Instead, it is more crucial to know how many times you made contact with the user, if they remembered the creative, if they were not bored with your ads, what was the cost per click in different cases: if the person noticed the ad once, twice, or ten times. You can also obtain these statistics from third-party analytics systems.

Don’t analyze the flight only at the end because you risk missing essential sources

For example, you run a two-week flight. If you run this on June 1st, you do the first performance snapshot on the 15th. But this won’t show the whole picture on the flight’s closing date. There will be some additional conversions for a few more weeks after – the so-called media tail. This happens because users are not always quick to take the targeted action. Conversions come in 0-30 days, so a person under the influence of a media campaign needs more time.

It is advisable to make a second cut of the performance of the flight one or two weeks after the end of the campaigns.

Evaluate the impact of media advertising on other traffic sources

Often the effect of a media ad is judged “by feel” or by screenshots from Google Analytics (whether there are peaks in traffic growth). At the same time, the team does not analyze which traffic sources were converted on clicks where the impact of the media campaign was really reflected.


  • Analyzing by click is wrong. In media advertising, as a rule, CTR ranges from 0.05 to 0.65%. Therefore, if you study only clicks, you might make a “survivor’s mistake”. Millions of shows, which indirectly influenced website traffic and conversion rate, will be left unnoticed in such a situation.
  • When launching media RCs, you need to use advanced analytics to show conversions by shows. In our practice in media flights, click-through conversions are only 1-12% of total conversions. The other 88-99% are Post-View and Cross conversions.
  • Track results from your media campaign in other traffic channels. And conduct an additional cross-section on the flight’s performance one to two weeks after it ends.

Contact us if you’re not ready to keep launching media campaigns “blindly”. We’ll help you set up and digitize the results correctly.

April 14, 2022
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