How One Advertiser Uses Microsoft Engagement Mapping

A new reporting tool gives display advertising its due.

Two months after Atlas unveiled Engagement Mapping, a reporting system to help marketers divide credit for conversions between search and display ads, the Microsoft ad management unit has hit the road again. This time it’s promoting the product ahead of a wider release and showcasing discoveries gleaned from the experiences of one beta advertiser.

According to the case study, Ingenuity Media of The Martin Agency used the system on behalf of client Alltel. The top-level finding: display advertising deserves considerable credit for the wireless carrier’s online conversions — even those that take place through search. A combination of search and graphical ad units resulted in a 56 percent lift in conversion rate when compared with search advertising unaccompanied by graphical units.

“There is a significant amount of synergy that’s being created,” said Young-Bean Song, VP of analytics within Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions division.

He continued, “When you go beyond that last ad, that last click… you quickly realize that 94 percent of all the engagement touch points are there, but are completely ignored by the last ad standard and thus are irrelevant to our current reporting.”

Using Engagement Mapping, Alltel also determined the top three sites where its search ads appeared deserved 60 percent less credit for conversions than had been given under the previous reporting protocol. Meanwhile four comparable publishers that served the brand’s display advertising deserved 33 percent more credit, Atlas said. Alltel’s top objectives are to drive people to its site and sell them a wireless plan or phone.

Atlas assigns more or less weight to different ad impressions based on factors like frequency, recency, and ad size. Larger ad units get more credit, as do video and rich media. More frequently and recently delivered ads are also given greater influence. Advertisers can also tweak the dials on Atlas’s interface to assign greater influence to those Web publishers and ad formats it deems most powerful.

A typical Engagement Mapping output might appear as follows. The example was shared by Microsoft last week:


Song emphasized Engagement Mapping isn’t meant to replace standard research functions such as creative testing and brand impact studies.

“The capability of engagement mapping is largely a reporting exercise,” he said. “You have to do the research, A/B testing, and all the things smart people do. Engagement mapping allows you to track performance with all of those things in consideration.”

Launched in closed beta two months ago, the Engagement Mapping tool is an outgrowth of research conducted by Atlas, Avenue A/Razorfish and Yahoo in recent years. That research has sought to prove the tie between search and display advertising, especially the role display can play in influencing consumers who eventually convert through search.

Other early advertisers and agencies involved in the Engagement Mapping beta including Best Western International, Citi Cards, GSD&M, and Neo@Ogilvy.


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