View-based conversions are conversions tracked based on whether a Web surfer has seen (but not necessarily clicked on) a particular ad banner before going to the Web site promoted on that banner. If you're not using them to evaluate your online media campaigns, why not?
If you don't use them, you're not alone. Our ad-serving providers tell me a majority of online advertisers still don't consider view-based conversions. As a result, advertisers dramatically underreport campaign performance.
I've heard the rationales against considering view-based conversions. Some say it doesn't make sense to attribute to an ad unit a conversion that occurs 72 hours after ad exposure, for instance. Some believe it's unlikely the exposure directly influenced the customer to convert.
Others think view-based conversions are invalid because of "outside noise," the idea that advertising in TV, radio, and/or print influenced the conversion in combination with online. Well... perhaps.
View-based conversions are valid. Check out DoubleClick's study on them, or Atlas DMT's or Advertising.com's. Here's how to determine the percentage of view-based conversions that should be attributed to your campaign (similar to how these studies did):
Depending on what you're trying to learn and how granularly you're trying to mine the data, you'll need varying sample sizes. Work with your ad-serving partner or an ad network to help ensure you have a statistically sound test.
Get a test going. You'll find your campaigns are performing much better than you've been able to demonstrate in the past. You may also find placements you've eliminated through your previous optimization efforts are actually worth reincorporating into your plans.
If you do run a test, I'd love to hear about your results and the conversion factors you come up with. Me, I can't wait until measuring campaigns in this way is the rule rather than the exception.
Pete is off this week. Today's column ran earlier on ClickZ.
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