Meaningful Metrics

At our first quarterly ‘Shaping the Future’ Breakfast this January, Matt Lines, ROAST’s Mobile Account Manager, took a look at how untraditional buying metrics (such as Cost per Second, Cost per Engagement and Cost per Footfall) could be beneficial to consider in a brand’s digital media strategy.

How can we buy digital media? Although it seems like a basic question to ask, we believe it is a very important one to think about when building your digital media strategy for 2018. We can buy it the familiar way, paying on impressions and clicks. Or, we can try something a little different. In this piece, we’re going to introduce three newer metrics that we can buy media against. The first is Cost Per Second (CPS), where we only pay for the seconds that the ad is in in view on the digital device. The second is Cost Per Engagement (CPE), when we are only paying when someone performs a precise measurable action within a self-contained ad unit (but does not necessarily click through to a landing page). The third and final metric is Cost Per Footfall (CPff), which is when someone visits a physical location after being served a digital ad.

But why bother with these three new metrics? In 2017, a lot of senior figures in the marketing industry questioned the effectiveness of digital media, in particular, Mark Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble, who drew attention to some of the big challenges that the industry is facing. We believe that these new buying metrics can go some way to offering solutions.


Viewability & time-based buying metrics

The first challenge is making sure our ads have the ability to be seen, as it is hard to transmit a brand’s message when the creative is not fully in view.

ROAST believe that a possible solution to poor viewability is this time-based metric – CPS, as, if we are only paying for those seconds when the ad is over 50% in view on our digital device, then that solves some of the flaws in Cost Per Impression (CPM) as a metric. For CPS, a timer runs from when the ad is 50% in view to when it is 50% out of view. There is also a timer cap, so anything over 15 seconds is no longer paid, this helps firm up the metric as a way of transacting media.

Most importantly, these time-based metrics work. The longer an ad is in view, the better the brand uplift metrics look at the end of a campaign. Studies have shown that consideration, awareness and recall all improve relative to the amount of time the ad is visible for.


Accurately determining engagement actions

Another industry challenge identified was inflated digital metrics, such as accidental clicks. The solution to this is CPE. A CPE campaign works around precise and intentional interactions within ad units, actions such as shakes or swipes on mobile, or a click and drag on desktop. This adds an extra layer of precision to the metric.

As they encourage actions within a self-contained ad unit, CPE campaigns are acknowledging that landing pages are not the be all and end all of digital media.


Tracking online to offline effectiveness

A big question for many companies looking to engage with a digital strategy is; how much does digital media contribute to the bottom line? This is a particularly important consideration for businesses who operate mostly offline and whose customers tend to convert in store.

CPff is the potential solution to this problem. The unique features of mobile devices offer us the tools to build out this metric. There are two sources of location data that we can access on mobile, taken from two slightly different places. The first place is the open ad exchange. When an impression pops up in the programmatic landscape, quite often a location signal is passed against that impression, so we will be able to see precise coordinates attached to it. From here, we can work out whether we want to buy that impression based on the physical location of where the user was. The second source is a direct SDK (Software Development Kit) integration. Certain location partners have inserted their SDK into a wide network of apps allowing them to pull location data for targeting and attribution.

Using the above methods, location can be used both as a form of measurement and a metric against which to buy media. Just as CPE metrics recognise that the sole aim of digital is not just to drive landing page visits, what CPff recognises is that the aim of digital media is not just to drive digital behaviour. Someone may see a digital ad and then take an action offline.



In summary, we’re not proposing that impressions and clicks be scrapped as buying metrics, but the key takeaway here is that a regular plan is not necessarily the right plan. Just because something looks neater and more symmetrical, it does not necessarily mean it is the right fit for a certain campaign. Using a mix of traditional and untraditional metrics may be a smoother route to campaign effectiveness.