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Ad Impact Measures How Online Ads Affect User Behavior

This week Compete launched Ad Impact, a tool to measure how exposure to online advertising affects users' online behavior.

In particular, Ad Impact observes how search queries and interactions with the brand, competitor and third-party sites are affected after a person is exposed to a given online ad campaign.

Behavior-based metrics will cover three major categories:

  • Site impact (branded site and microsite visitation)
  • Search and ecosystem impact (search phrases, social media, rival site and third-party site visitation)
  • Campaign profile information (demographic, impression and frequency reporting)

Clients may also request customized metrics.

According to Compete, this data will stimulate higher returns from existing online ad investments by equipping publishers, advertisers, ad networks and agencies with crucial data about how a given ad exposure may (or may not) affect behavior.

Google's YouTube has already piloted the program. "Dozens of our advertising partners take advantage of this research and we have been impressed with the metrics reported," preached Product Marketing Manager Michael Rucker of YouTube and Google.

"Knowing that your campaign resulted in an exposed audience being 700% more likely to search for your product is information a savvy marketer needs to know, and Ad Impact has allowed us to provide our clients with these insights."

Results from Compete analysis, which spans over 75 campaigns from the beginning of the year to the present, finds that online display ads drive a significant increase in brand search queries among users.

In an example from the Entertainment industry, Compete assessed an online campaign for a blockbuster film and observed that consumers that saw the ad were 705% more likely to visit the movie's website than those that did not. Moreover, they were 85% more likely to search for the movie or its actors over the life of the campaign.

Movie studios can leverage such insights to identify best practices for future film launch campaigns, Compete noted.

Below, a chart that compares lift in site visitation and brand search across five major sectors, based on exposure to recent online advertising campaigns:


Note: "Lift" marks the behavioral difference between consumers exposed to an ad and those who were not exposed (the Control Group).

Ad Impact draws data from Compete's online panel of US consumers, which the latter claims is the largest integrated online panel in the industry.

Research rival Nielsen recently launched a US-based online audience measurement panel comprised of over 230,000 users — which it now claims is the largest such panel in existence.

In any event, "[understanding] how an ad impacts behavior within a target audience has been the missing ingredient in measuring online brand advertising. Until now, neither publishers nor advertisers could fully account for the value of a campaign," stated CMO Stephen DiMarco of Compete.

"Identifying how exposure creates search activity or deeper brand engagement helps answer the question, 'what is the value of the 99.9% of advertising that does not get clicked on?'"


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