View-throughs (VT) are great when discussing with your boss! You can show a kick-ass campaign with a tiny tiny cost per acquisition (CPA). The problem is that it is, that 10 VT sales are not always the same as 10 extra sales. And your boss might notice that after a while (at least if he is smart).
I have always had a problem with the metric view-through. What is this metric exactly describing?
Every time I am looking at my stats from my display ad campaigns I always get a little dizzy when I come to the VT’s. I mean CT’s a quite easy to understand. A user clicked at your banner and converted on your site. Boom – that’s it.
A VT on the other hand is a lot more hard to understand. It could be someone who surfed through a page where your banner was served at the bottom, and the user never actually saw you ad. Nevertheless the user converted 5 days later of other reasons. But the user still has your cookie and will be counted as a VT sale except if he is coming through another marketing campaign such as Adwords.
This problem is even bigger when you ads are served at pages with lots of traffic like the main national boulevard-press website like The Sun or eb.dk here in Denmark. There is a good change that almost all surfers get by at some point and get your cookie placed at their computer.
And that is the time when your boss is paying you a second visit asking you why your other channels suddenly are falling while your great campaign is top performing. The VT’s are simply taking credit for all the natural conversions as well even though the traffic was there before the campaign.
So should I just skip the metric and focus on CT’s? This will cause the problem that the display ad channel will look so gargantuan expensive compared to decisional channels like the search engines. So de facto this is the same as closing down the channel.
Should I just cut the display ad channel then? Actually I tried that for a while already ;-) That gave me a significant lower CPA but unfortunately my SEM-campaigns suddenly got a lot more expensive and the volume in search engines in general fell. Doh!
I have turned on the display campaigns again. I have developed a special excel sheet trying to compensate for all the flaws. I’m measuring my upper-funnel on more parameters that just conversions and all in all trying to compensate. I’m not happy though!
Guys, how are you handling the problem?