Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time speaking with (and learning from!) our clients and other online retailers about retargeting, specifically how to ensure its value is incremental to the bottom line. We have a simple answer to that, of course: pay only for clicks that convert!
When we started our crusade on this topic, we were a lone voice. However, it is becoming clear that online marketers are quickly learning of the perils of paying for view-through conversions, and the sentiment is quickly growing into a crescendo. Below, we’ve curated a few of the best like-minded articles on the web:
Kevin Lee of DidIt posted a great article on ClickZ last Friday where he cleanly laid out the hazards of paying for conversions on a view-through basis. He writes “if view-through orders” are to be paid for on a CPA basis… then the retargeting provider has “an incentive to buy below-the-fold, less expensive inventory on the hope” that the conversions would have happened anyway. This is the definition of view-through conversion spam: charging for conversions that were not incremental to bottom-line revenue.
The Crosspixelmedia team elaborates on the definition and makes it easier for retailers to recognize if they’re being duped. They write:
“Ad networks spam our computers with useless ads to get credit for sales that they didn’t generate. If an ad network is delivering an inordinate number of view conversions vs. click conversions, it is likely they are engaging in view spam, and your advertising dollars are being wasted.”
Harry Gold’s article on ClickZ brings up two more concerns with paying for view-through conversions:
[VTC] grossly inflates the network’s reported conversions and ROI. I’ve taken over many accounts where a client had raved about a network’s conversion/ROI success. As soon as I showed them how to drill down on the conversions to take out the view-based conversions, the whole story changed. It wasn’t good news, but it was critical to show the real picture. Agencies, sites, or networks shouldn’t take credit for view-based conversions in the same way they take credit for click-based (where the banner was actually clicked on) conversions.
Second, when you count view-based conversion the same as click-based conversion, you can end up double-counting conversion when you bring all your data together into a consolidated dashboard.
Young Bean Song of Microsoft sums up view-through conversion accounting simply in “The Dirty Little Secret of View-Through Conversions.” He writes: “view-based conversions are a measure of targeted reach, not direct response.” He points out that view-through conversions are appropriate for brand advertisers who want to know where their target audience lives online, but that “it’s time to drop the ROI moniker where it isn’t sincere.”
At TellApart, we’ll go further and say “there is no valid way to enter into a pay-for-view-throughs agreement with a retargeting provider. If you want an agreement that works for retailers and retargeting vendors, pay only for clicks, and, specifically, only for clicks that convert.”