Digital Ad Reports Are Great But What About The Big Picture?

Digital Ad Reports Are Great But What About The Big Picture?

I receive a lot of digital ads. I’m targeted as much as the next consumer, and the most intriguing digital messages and offers absolutely shine through the clutter enough for me to open my wallet and become a customer. In fact, I made a purchase because of a digital ad just this morning. In this case, I was served a Facebook Newsfeed Carousel Ad, I clicked, I added 3 items to my cart and I checked out. This all happened in one continuous stream of events, was easy to track and I’m certain the advertiser will be delighted with this result when seeing an additional “click conversion” on their reporting metric.

Often, I’m a “view through conversion.” A few weeks ago, I noticed a display ad for Origins Skincare on my laptop: “Free super deluxe size sample + 5 free mini samples with purchase!” Say no more, I’m IN. I love samples. However, I was busy at the time. I didn’t click, I didn’t interact with the ad at all.  About 5 days later I remembered and went to their website on my own from my same device. I added my items to the cart, picked out all my freebies and happily checked out.  I’m now enjoying my new products while the advertiser is enjoying an additional “view through conversion” on their report.

But this is not always the case.  In theory, it should always happen in a trackable way, and I should be appearing in numerous digital reports for numerous advertisers as a conversion, but I’m not. Why? It doesn’t always work that way.

I rarely click, and I don’t always convert online.

Take another recent example. I now have a CLEAR membership which allows me to fly through long security lines in less than 5 minutes. How did I know about this fabulous service? Digital Ads. I was targeted with ads primarily in my Facebook Newsfeed. I was intrigued but also busy, I never clicked.  Am I now a customer? Absolutely (security in five minutes thank you). However, I will not appear as a conversion on any of their reports. Why? While at the airport, I saw the Kiosk and representatives and signed up in person.  I’m willing to bet tons of customers convert just like me.  Digital Advertising was the catalyst for my awareness of the Brand and offer, but I converted in a way that is not completely trackable.  In person.

As digital advertisers, we spend a tremendous amount of time pouring over reports and metrics.  We are tracking conversions, view throughs, clicks, traffic. We are looking at google analytics and making tweaks and adjustments to see the best results.  This transparency and trackability is fantastic and essential to any digital campaign, however, it still doesn’t tell the complete story.

How do we track the sales that happen offline and in person but were still driven by digital? What happens if I see the ad on my phone and then later convert at work through a completely different connection? Additional metrics are consistently developing and everything is becoming increasingly trackable – however, the reports still do not tell the full story.

In today’s high tech digital world we all spend a lot of time looking down. Looking down at devices with our faces buried in our screens. Check any group of teens for confirmation on this. They are all looking down (unless they are looking up for selfie time). They are tracking likes, clicks, comments just like the rest of us.

It is also imperative to look up and see the big picture.  While reports are crucial, they are not the only way to track results.  Are sales increasing? Are you booked? Are you busy? These are also all signs that your digital campaign is working.  Often, advertising success boils down to the most simple metric: Are the doors swinging and the phone ringing?

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