DoubleClick: Online Ads Convert Over Time

Internet users’ reactions to online ads are often delayed, according to DoubleClick’s Q2 2004 Ad Serving Trend Report. The report found that while a certain percentage of viewers click online ads, even more are responding over time.

Click-through rates dropped slightly from 0.48 percent in the first quarter of 2004 to 0.43 percent in the second quarter, but view-through rates – which measure responses over time – grew considerably. According to DoubleClick, the view-through rate for Q2 measured 0.73 percent compared to 0.59 percent in Q1.

DoubleClick acknowledged that view-through metrics may not be entirely accurate, as they also capture activity that occurs as the result of offline ad recall or other stimulus. However, DoubleClick found that most conversions come from consumers seeing an ad and taking action sometime during the following month rather than immediately clicking on the ad.

Post-Click and Post-Impression
Ad Reactions
Post-click activity per impression 0.4%
Post-click sales per activity 6.6%
Post-impression activity per impression 0.5%
Post-impression sales per activity 42.5%
Source: DART for Advertisers Ad Serving Data Q2 2004

The conclusions of the ad-serving report support the branding effect of online ads, and DoubleClick conducted a complementary study with Continental Airlines designed to demonstrate post-impression conversions.

The Continental Airlines case study was part of a February 2004 online media campaign that measured view-through activity by tracking sales and registrations occurring 1 hour, 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, and 30 days after exposure.

The effective conversion rates (ECR) were calculated for both the 1.467 million unique users in the control group and the 2.121 million unique users in the exposed group, leading DoubleClick to conclude that there is a significant impact of response over time to online ads.

Percentage of View-Through
Conversions by Source
Attributable to
Online Media
Sales 32.7% 67.3%
Registrations 27.8% 72.2%
Total Conversions 32.5% 67.5%
Source: DoubleClick

In addition to time-based metrics, the DoubleClick Q2 2004 Ad Serving Trend Report explored the value of targeting, along with rich media growth, and ad size popularity.

Keywords remained the preferred targeting choice, at just over 53 percent of publisher ads served. Geo-targeting, which is based on the more precise IP address mapping rather than ISP location, accounted for 1.8 percent of publisher ads served.

Rich media click-through rates were measured at five times higher than non-rich media in Q2 2004 – 1.17 percent compared to .23 percent. While rich media click-throughs have rebounded slightly, they remain lower than 2003 figures.

Rich Media Click-Through Rates
Q1 2003 2.15%
Q2 2003 1.87%
Q3 2003 1.57%
Q4 2003 1.24%
Q1 2004 0.98%
Q4 2004 1.17%
Source: DART for Advertisers Ad Serving Data Q2 2004

As in Q1 2004, Banners (468 x 60) remain the most popular size format, accounting for 30 percent of all ads served, and declining 2 points since Q1.

Leaderboards (728 x 90) accounted 7.9 percent of the total ads served in Q2, growing 384 percent over the year.

Related reading